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Robot models in Harbin, China. Photo: VCG//Getty
There is a new threat from Beijing, which is increasingly buying or reverse-engineering big tech breakthroughs and transforming them into cheap, commodity products, according to a Harvard professor.
Why it matters: Speaking at a conference in Dallas, Willy Shih, an economist at Harvard Business School, forecast "a gale of creative destruction," in which "whole [American] industries will be transformed, or may disappear."
The background: China does steal intellectual property, and pressures U.S., German and other foreign companies to relinquish proprietary know-how in exchange for market access, Shih explains in a piece out today in MIT Sloan Management Review.
But he says Western companies are confronted with another challenge, and that's the commoditization of their most precious intellectual property, contained within sophisticated tools that often "took years or even a generation to develop."
A big battleground is cars: Companies like BYD and Dongfeng have leapfrogged into direct competition with sophisticated engineering products made by VW, Honda and GM, Shih says.
A key fact: "Computing power is almost free," Shih told the conference. "It's much harder for U.S. companies to keep the technical lead."
Protesting at City Hall in March. Photo: Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty
New York taxi drivers, emboldened by five suicides in their ranks and desperate financial straits, are pressing for laws to protect them against ride-hailing companies.
Why it matters: Like cabbies around the world, New York drivers have suffered a plunge in income since the rise of Uber, and city leaders say they are considering laws to help them, including a cap on ride-hailing vehicles in the city.
In a statement to Axios, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance called it a suicide, the fifth in five months. It blamed "financial ruin" caused by the chaotic driving industry, its numbers only loosely controlled by the city.
Worth over $1 million as recently as 2014, the medallions now sell for as little as $175,000, according to the NYT.
Ford's Dearborn, MI plant, 1928. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty
For the first time in a decade, the U.S. worker shortage is so pronounced that it is visible in suppressed aggregate hiring numbers, economists say, and it will probably become worse.
Quick take: Ahead of Friday's new U.S. jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ADP, the payroll company, said the economy produced 178,000 new jobs in May, which economists said is strong but muted compared with demand.
All of this has occurred without the full effect of the $1.5 trillion tax cut, economists said.
In Glendale, Ca. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty
The demise of brick-and-mortar retail is no longer a sure investment bet.
What's going on: With Amazon on the march, a favorite target of short sellers has been Dick's Sporting Goods, a chain spread through 47 states and 600 stores, especially since it stopped selling assault rifles following the Parkland shootings.
The big picture: "Legacy brick-and-mortar retailers who have been treading water for years are dying. Dick’s, however, which is a last man standing in the sporting goods category, is doing fine," Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia University, tells Axios.
The bottom line: "There’s a Darwinian process occurring in brick-and-mortar retail that’s been accelerated by the presence of emerging e-commerce," says Cohen. "The retail industry is perfectly healthy, but not every retailer is basking in the glow."
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
What happens when you cut to the bone in England (Peter Goodman - NYT)
Blockchain: good for security, not so much for privacy (Robert Plant - WSJ)
Walmart is the latest to offer college to employees (Corrine Ruff - Retail Dive)
A new women's liberation wave (Mike Allen - Axios)
The world is a better place, which means new challenges (Martin Wolf - FT)
Racism could scale to the size of the internet (Dave Gershgorn - Quartz)
1.7 billion stars in the Milky Way and neighboring galaxies, taken by the European Space Agency's Gaia spacecraft from July 2014 to May 2016. Photo: ESA/Gaia/DPAC
With the richest vein of crystal-clear images of the galaxy to date, researchers are mapping the past orbits of stars to get closer to understanding the Milky Way's history.
What's going on: The practitioners of this science call it "galactic archaeology," which has gotten a huge boost with a burst of images from Gaia, an observatory launched into orbit by the European Space Agency in 2013 (see image above.)
Why it matters: "Astronomers, who had previously catalogued just 2.5 million of the brightest stars in the galaxy, are hailing a new era of precision astronomy," reports Quanta magazine's Natalie Wolchover.
What's next: Walchover quotes Khyati Malhan, lead author of the paper: “The idea is to trace the streams backward in time along their orbits in order to contemplate the galaxy’s past and its formation history.”
Go deeper: 360-degree visualizations from Gaia