The challenges of reopening the economy

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Good morning.

Reopening the global economy, it turns out, is significantly harder than shutting it down. That’s why Fortune has launched a new section, How to Reopen, that takes a deep look at how countries and companies, big and small, are dealing with this unprecedented challenge. Our crack Asia team goes inside China’s reopening, looking at Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Harbin and Wuhan, birthplace of the pandemic. Jeremy Kahn surveys academic experts about the dangers of reopening too early. And our new feature, The Rebuild Program, provides U.S. small businesses a place where they can learn from others who share their challenges. You can find all our How to Reopen coverage here.

Reopening is also the topic of this week’s episode of Leadership Next. Ellen McGirt and I have a wide-ranging conversation with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who is using both his business and his philanthropy to hyperactively address the needs of the pandemic. A new set of tools called Work.com was launched by Salesforce this week to help businesses “mitigate the amount of interaction that we have with the virus” by building “apps that are going to help our workers get back to work safely.”

Benioff has been a leader in the effort to reorient business toward all stakeholders, not just shareholders. He told us that the big impetus for that change came from his employees. “My job as the CEO is to be just listening and responding to my employees,” he said. “And my customers, of course,” he added. Salesforce’s core product is customer-relationship management software.

Separately, the pandemic has caused public trust in institutions—government, business, NGOs, media—to rise this year, according to a new report out from Edelman this morning. Government enjoyed the largest rise—with double digit moves in every country save two of those measured: the U.S., where it only rose 9{4bae5313c1ffa697ce99995897f7847f1ebf3bca0fb7c37396bb602eb24323d3}, and Japan, where it fell 5{4bae5313c1ffa697ce99995897f7847f1ebf3bca0fb7c37396bb602eb24323d3}. In the U.S., the trust number reflects a strong vote of confidence in state and local governments—66{4bae5313c1ffa697ce99995897f7847f1ebf3bca0fb7c37396bb602eb24323d3}—but weaker support for the response at the federal level—46{4bae5313c1ffa697ce99995897f7847f1ebf3bca0fb7c37396bb602eb24323d3}.

More news below.

Alan Murray


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