Economics/Class Relations

Xi is out of options

Nicholas Carlson, December 1, 2022


Hello, Insiders. Earlier this week, Merriam-Webster revealed their word of the year: gaslighting. It’s clearly an important and relevant term, but I have another one for you: ultracrepidarian.


If you’re unfamiliar, it pertains to someone who “criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside the area of their expertise.” It’s a longtime trait of successful people in Silicon Valley, who make a lot of money investing in startups and then think they’re an expert in everything. I used to be a tech reporter and I saw it all the time. And now, everyone else is getting introduced to this in the form of Elon Musk. Congratulations.


So that’s the Nich Carlson word of the year. What’s yours? Let me know:

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The big story
Marianne Ayala/Insider


The historic protests in China are just the start. Unless Xi Jinping can fix the economy, his problems are just going to get worse.


China has erupted in mass protests over the past week, as thousands of citizens call for an end to restrictive COVID lockdowns. The boldest of the disruptors have even demanded an end to political repression — a startling and unprecedented challenge to the authoritarian rule of President Xi Jinping.


“This is Xi’s first real test,” Minxin Pei, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College, told senior correspondent Linette Lopez.


But Xi doesn’t have the tools he needs to pass. China still lacks effective vaccines to help deal with the public health problem. And with a withering economy — that threatens to take the rest of the world down with it — Xi can’t lean on economic growth or entrepreneurial opportunities to distract people from the growing political unrest.


That leaves Xi with the one thing authoritarians typically rely on when faced with domestic pressure: more repression to enforce order. The choice for Xi is lockdowns or batons. And either way, the Chinese people lose.


Read the full story here.

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Today’s sound bite
“The FDA may soon make it easier for gay men to donate blood. It’s considering assessing donor risk on an individual basis rather than by broad categories.”
 Hear more from today’s episode of The Refresh from Insider.

Correction: Yesterday’s “sound bite” misstated the findings of a clinical trial on the Alzheimer’s drug lecanemab. Participants taking the drug saw their rate of cognitive decline slow by 27% compared to those receiving the placebo; the 27% figure didn’t refer to the share of patients who saw declines in the disease’s progression.

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Today’s team
This edition was curated by Nicholas Carlson, and edited by Hallam Bullock, Lisa Ryan, Jordan Parker Erb, and Shona Ghosh. Get in touch:
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