Horizons newsletter – week 46 // 2018

Horizons newsletter – week 46 // 2018

Horizons is a bi-monthly Dasym Research initiative to show you how the Dasym themes have been in the news. We publish the Horizons on our website and as an email newsletter. If you wish to receive the email, please contact Investor Relations.
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The U.S. after two terms of Trump
The U.S. midterm elections flipped the House of Representatives to a blue majority, but the Senate remained in the hands of the Republicans. The result is little surprising and did not bring the historic “blue wave” Democrats hoped for. Remarkable is the historic record of more than a hundred women elected to the House and historic wins including the first black state senator from Massachusetts, the first openly transgender state legislator, and the first two Muslim women elected to the U.S. congress. These are signs of a reaction to Trump’s polarizing discourse. In a scenario session ‘After Two Terms of Trump’, we explored the possible future of a country further polarized under the rhetoric of its President. In our scenario, Trump’s presidency will lead to greater polarization between the multicultural, cosmopolitan population in the coastal cities and the religious and conservative population on the American mainland. Indeed, cities are the location of value creation and so-called “sanctuary cities” show assertive action that goes against the federal government. This could lead to cities taking more control.

Seamlessness is bliss
Subscription and delivery services already provide solutions to not run out of items such as toilet paper, toothpaste or make-up without having to visit the store. Driven by mobile technology, consumers increasingly expect their daily needs to be right there when they need them. For instance, China’s Luckin Coffee delivers coffee right at your (office’s) front door. The company changed its physical stores into kitchens and simple order windows, where customers will find their order ready for them after they ordered and paid for it by using an app. Pizza Hut recently unveiled a partnership with Toyota to create a vehicle that will prepare your pizza while it’s on your way. More and more, our surroundings will need to adjust to our increasing urge for efficiency, forcing companies to redesign their business models and assets, turning restaurants into kitchens and stores to offer services besides products. Whereas companies used to make themselves as visible as possible to attract customers, now companies have to make themselves blend in seamlessly into consumer’s daily routines.

The modern Hanseatic League
Last year’s (re-)election of Macron and Merkel boosted momentum for European integration and reforms, as a strong Franco-German axis has historically been the driver for European reforms and integration. However, not all Eurozone member states share the political ambitions of forging an “ever closer union”. Since the U.K. decided to leave the EU, a group of small, liberal Northwestern economies (see map) are aligning themselves to tamper Franco-German integration-enthusiasm. These countries are linked by strong historical ties, dating back to the Hanseatic League: a confederation of European market towns between the 14th and 17th century, that were the first modern cities to promote free trade, liberal politics and rational bureaucracy instead of chasing political ambitions. Nowadays, they are the Eurozone’s fiscally most hawkish economies; they speak out against further Eurozone reforms and call instead for more budgetary discipline from member states. With the Netherlands being the biggest of these small economies and having a strong history of promoting and depending on free trade, it is the natural leader of this resurging Hanseatic League.