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Rathbones Review Winter 2021

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"When France sneezes,” Austrian diplomat Klemens von Metternich remarked in the wake of the French Revolution, “Europe catches a cold.” Reflecting shifts in global power, this maxim has metamorphosed over time and is now most often framed in terms of US hegemony. “When America sneezes,” we usually say today, “the world catches a cold.”

But what about when China sneezes? The machinations of the second-largest economy on Earth are becoming ever more significant, with the actions of one man in particular perhaps most important of all. Our lead article examines the extraordinary rise of President Xi Jinping and considers how his journey from exiled cave-dweller to “paramount leader” has shaped his worldview.

One of Xi’s declared aims is to propel China to the frontier of innovation. We touch on these efforts in discussing the phenomenon of unicorns — young, privately owned companies with billion-dollar valuations — and the UK’s own attempts to develop them.

Cutting-edge technology is also to the fore in several other pieces in this edition. We investigate the recent shortage of computer chips, tracing the history of an invention that has come to impact on almost every aspect of our lives; we explain the challenges of eco-flying; and we ask whether radical advances could at last help realise the long-promised dream of a four-day working week. Delving into the mysteries of ancient cures, we also look at how the past is informing both the present and the future.

Other topics featured in this issue are typically diverse. They include diversity itself, the growth of the seaweed business, the boom in retirement villages, the science behind sniffer dogs, the art of getting a book published and — yum — the search for the world’s most delicious marmalade. To enter the Marmalade Awards, you can use the enclosed entry form.

As ever, we hope you enjoy all the articles. We would be delighted to hear from you if you have any feedback or if you have any suggestions for subjects we might cover in forthcoming editions.

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