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“You are not a man — men don’t wear masks!” That’s what the protestors screamed as I walked out of the Beverly Hills Hilton.
It was the sort of protest that was as absurd as it was loud: Instead of achieving change, the anti-vax protestors simply served as a unifying force among Milken Conference delegates of all stripes and parties on Tuesday.
It’s the final day of the Milken Conference, but there’re plenty of big names left on the program.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar and ACLU deputy director Vikrum Aiyer top the bill at 11.30 a.m. ET / 8.30 a.m. PT, talking about workplace rights of the future: How do you protect workers in their bedrooms while “maximizing productivity and profit”?
It takes a lot to get a standing ovation from the Milken crowd, but Roya Rahmani, Afghanistan’s former ambassador to the U.S., got one Tuesday during a panel where she issued tough truths about gender discrimination. Today she gets her own spotlight in conversation with the FT’s Peter Spiegel. 11.30 a.m. ET / 8.30 a.m. PT
Fannie Mae CEO Hugh Frater will be speaking about “Addressing the Roots of Inequality in Housing,” at 2:30 p.m. ET / 11:30 a.m. PT, alongside Housing Secretary Marcia Fudge and activists. There’s no better place to address this topic than L.A., which is home to a homelessness disaster. Frater told Global Insider that “Problems decades in the making will take time to fix, but we can and are taking practical steps right now,” urging policymakers and finance folks to “be unafraid to try new ideas” across both “homeownership and quality affordable rental housing.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom and math enthusiast Andrew Yang will make back-to-back appearances starting at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. ET. Yang will close out the conference from poolside at the Beverly Hilton.
“Strategic autonomy: No one knows what that is. … [Instead] what we need is a free trade agreement and a new NATO.”
— Peter Beyer, CDU member of the German Bundestag; coordinator of transatlantic cooperation for the German Foreign Office
“We are going through the greatest realignment of global value chains in our lifetime.”
— Mauricio Claver-Carone, president, Inter-American Development Bank
“You cannot look at where we are at COP26 and be optimistic. That is not possible … but I don’t despair.”
— Ian Bremmer, Eurasia Group
“Our companies with more diverse boards are growing 12 percent faster.”
— Kewsong Lee, Carlyle CEO
“There are 200 epidemics a year. Any one of them could become a pandemic. And everyone should have the chance to see information about that. We have the [digital] tools to do it.”
— Raj Shah, Rockefeller Foundation
ICYMI: Elaine Chao’s advice to Asian Americans looking to run for elected office (from the 47 minute mark of this video).
Finally, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) thinks China’s big immediate temptation with Taiwan is to seize its world-leading semiconductor industry. “We should make clear the economic consequences to China,” if they attempt to interfere with Taiwan.
ONLY AT MILKEN
OVERHEARD: “I was going to tell you what I looked like so you could recognize me. But then I realized: white guy, black mask, dark suit — it’s not really going to help you much.”
OVERHEARD: “This is the only place in my life I haven’t had to line up for the bathroom.”
— female conference-goer
BY THE NUMBERS: $15,000 — the price of just one of the higher end crystal bowls used in Tuesday’s sound bath meditation. The “budget” bowls are four for $1,500.
INTERVIEWS — BRAD GARLINGHOUSE, RIPPLE CEO
ROMAN REGELMAN, SENIOR EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CEO OF ASSET SERVICING
U.S. left behind globally: Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, a financial transaction platform which uses a native cryptocurrency known as XRP, told Global Insider that the U.S. is being left behind on crypto because the SEC is failing as a regulator and is siding with banks over investors. He insisted SEC is wasting its energy prosecuting Ripple — for raising $1.3 billion through the sale of XRP, which it classes as an unregistered digital asset — when it should focus on building “a rational framework that protects the investors and protects the integrity of the market. Why is the SEC picking winners and losers?”
“In the U.K. they have a clear taxonomy for crypto, Japan has a lot of clarity, Singapore is where you’re seeing a lot of entrepreneurs and investment flow. The U.S. is a laggard, and I do worry as a U.S. guy, that we’re forcing this stuff overseas. When we go overseas, it’s not because we’re trying to escape regulations. It’s a heavy lift to get a license in Singapore, in the U.K., or the EU. But you know, the path to get a license is there.” He says Ripple is posting record growth outside of the U.S.
The latest word on that SEC lawsuit: “45,000 U.S. XRP holders have organized to file a class action against the SEC.” In other words: The alleged victims don’t see themselves as victims at all.
Over in the corner of the traditional banks, BNY Mellon’s Roman Regelman told Global Insider his goal is “to support all assets, including digital assets in a mainstream way.”
“We hold $45 trillion in custody: roughly 25 percent of all investable assets globally. Our institutional clients want to have some exposure to digital assets: cryptocurrency, stable coins, tokenized assets.”
“We’ve been in business for 237 years. We believe that trust is absolute. You have to be absolutely trusted. But we’re also in the business of innovation: Alexander Hamilton was the original financial services innovator. We really believe in partnering. People ask me ‘are you afraid of fintechs?’ I’m absolutely not afraid. I’m focused on working with fintechs,” he said.
NEW GLOBAL INSIDER PODCAST — TAIWAN DIGITAL MINISTER AUDREY TANG
Audrey Tang insists that what has torn other democracies apart can help keep Taiwan together: digital tech. Imagine a world in which middle schoolers fact check presidential debates and public officials publish transcripts of every conversation they have: That’s life in Taiwan, fortifying its democracy against increasing threats from China.
Tang tells Global Insider what it’s like to govern and live in the shadow of China, and about their journey from child prodigy to Silicon Valley programmer to becoming Taiwan’s first non-binary minister.
COVID — VACCINE MAKER’S WOES HAMPER GLOBAL INOCULATION CAMPAIGN: COVAX, the global vaccine distributor, has been counting on U.S. companies to provide more than 2 billion doses to lower and middle-income countries by the end of 2022 — a crucial step in ending the Covid-19 pandemic.
That campaign is now likely to fall short by more than 1 billion doses. Full story here.
Former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron told the Milken Conference the big lesson from COVAX’s delivery failures is “making sure that vaccine production and distribution is more decentralized” — it doesn’t work with internal domestic politics when the big producers are countries with big outbreaks.
Cameron also said he’s still committed to “a global pandemic surveillance organization,” and that it should be “working with the WHO rather than being in the WHO” because it needs to be “an independent, scientist-backed, multilateral institution. If you try to do it by reforming the WHO, you’re already in a difficult conversation … you could spend years trying to do it.”
CLIMATE — WHAT IS THE GREEN TRANSITION GOING TO COST US? POLITICO’s Long Game walks you through the minefield that is moving to a cleaner, greener economy. Top themes to bear in mind: It will cost more both to pollute and to exist — that’s because we’re replacing things that aren’t technically broken (coal plants, for example), and it will take government investment to get us there quicker (but in a manner more financially costly to consumers than leaving to a market timeline). But, if it’s going to cost us, now is a good time to spend, because credit is cheap.
TRADE — CHINA FACES TOUGH WEEK AT WTO: China’s trade policy is undergoing a two-day public review Wednesday and Friday in Geneva.
What to expect: Both the WTO Secretariat and China have prepared reports as part of the review process (they’ll be released Wednesday). The United States and the EU will be among the parties speaking to the reports (42 countries spoke during the last China review in 2018). China will respond Friday to questions and complaints lobbed by other WTO members. As one of the world’s largest trading nations, China — alongside the U.S., EU and Japan — faces this grilling every two years; the WTO’s other members face review less frequently.
U.S. versus EU approaches: The Biden administration wants to work with allies to put pressure on China, but Europe is not completely on board with taking a united stance against Beijing, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters last week. “The United States wants to oppose China; we want to engage China,” Le Maire said.
BRAIN FOOD: World leaders promised a green recovery. They got a brown one instead.
BY THE NUMBERS: Only 47 (1 in 4) of the United Nations’ member states have paid their dues in full. The United States is a notable absentee from the honor roll.
CHINESE FOOD FOR THOUGHT: As China stays closed to visitors and President Xi Jinping keeps himself grounded at home, what’s really behind the high-walled quarantine? Xi is vulnerable over the next 12 months: He needs to devote all his energies to pre-planning the 20th Party Congress set to take place in October 2022. That’s where the party will decide if Xi wins an unprecedented third term, or gets the boot. The odds are he stays, but it’s not certain. Globetrotting has little upside, and a huge potential downside in that scenario.
WILLKOMMEN: The German media company Axel Springer has completed its purchase of POLITICO and POLITICO Europe.
THE EU HAS A FIRST LADY: The EU officially has a first lady: Amélie Derbaudrenghien Michel. For weeks, European Council President Charles Michel has declined to say if he and his longtime partner had finally married. No longer.
PROGRESS — SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE APPROVES 33 NOMINATIONS: The nominations making progress included former Sen. Jeff Flake (Turkey), Thomas Nides (Israel), David Cohen (Canada), Claire Cronin (Ireland) and Steven Bondy (Bahrain). But others looks set for a fight.
NOMINATED: Donald Blome as U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan.
Thanks to editor Ben Pauker and Sarah Anne Aarup