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America’s small businesses are fighting for access to capital. Here’s what Fed rate hikes mean for the communities I took a 6,000-mile road trip across the country to visit

The health of the economy—and of our small businesses and communities—is tough to gauge, let alone predict. As of this writing, the Federal Reserve is committed to raising rates even higher as we inch toward their next meeting in September a sign that inflation might persist. But the job market remains resilient, a sign that businesses think inflation will calm down.

While access to capital will fluctuate as interest rates rise, America’s small business community will remain ambitious and resourceful through adversity. I’m confident because I’ve recently seen it firsthand.

At the height of the economic transformation caused by the pandemic, I took eight months to tour eight cities. Driving over 6,000 miles, from Chicago to Baltimore, from Cleveland to Cumberland, Maryland, I was amazed by stories of American perseverance. 

But with each story, it became clearer that perseverance alone wouldn’t save small businesses. It requires a complete rethinking of how we build solutions to create new wealth-generating opportunities.

The pandemic has unveiled and exacerbated hardships

In 2020, each day of the pandemic unveiled more uncertainty than the one before. Businesses were shuttering at historic levels, communities were suffering from catastrophic levels of unmet need (from food insecurity to disruptions in education), and people were losing hope. 

I’d spent my entire career trying to enrich communities, celebrate small businesses, and give back. Yet, I was watching as our very own communities and institutions became destabilized, and more vulnerable to the ramifications of unprecedented chaos. 

One day, I came to the realization that instead of sitting by, talking to the people and communities hit hardest would be crucial to restabilizing and revitalizing American communities. Step one: Hit the road. 

Putting an ear to the ground

I set out across the country with my cousin (and now co-founder) Warren Reed to truly gauge the state of small businesses and communities in America amidst the upheaval. 

In just a few short weeks, it became increasingly clear that, without intervention, the outlook for small and medium-sized businesses in America would remain bleak. And it was the lack of opportunity to succeed that was the culprit.

As we went from town to town, business to business, the anguish on the faces of those we talked to was a common thread. Stories of lost jobs, families hanging on by a thread, and business owners losing the companies they’d worked their entire lives to build all began to tell a larger story. 

For every report that came out on the permanent closure of 100,000+ businesses or how Americans were struggling to pay their rent, we had a face, a name, a voice to put to it. We saw the pain and confusion etched into their faces. We heard the frustration and despair in their voices. 

These feelings resonated everywhere we went. As Warren and I debated what kind of solution could best uplift business owners, transform communities, and create widespread opportunity, we couldn’t ignore what we’d heard from a leader in Cumberland: “We’re a town of multi-generational families. We educate our children, but what good is education if there are no jobs? Businesses come for the tax break, but have no personal investment in our people. How are these families expected to survive, how is our community supposed to thrive, without a sustainable local economy? It seems like no one can be convinced to help us create one.”

We knew that if we used our learnings from the road trip as fundamental truths to guide our solution-building, we could replace these feelings of frustration with validation and support, and, most importantly, opportunity.

Breaking down barriers will enrich communities and grow our economy

Based on our conversations with small business owners, community members, and local leaders across the country, we’ve identified three key issues we must collectively address to revitalize America’s communities:

Poor circulation of capital is the root of stagnation 

After eight months, eight cities, and 6,000 miles, it was clear that the poor circulation of capital in our communities and the disparities between communities’ access to capital were nationwide issues. In 2020, over half of small businesses had unmet funding needs. Without capital, businesses can’t launch, grow, or create jobs. 

The longer the Fed keeps interest rates high, the heavier the toll on American business. While it’s important to use every investment tool and policy instrument to fight inflation and reintroduce capital into markets, we have to strike a balance between the overall economic and community impact. Otherwise, both will continue down a rough path.

Improving economic conditions in distressed communities isn’t an “urban” issue, it’s an American one 

Poor circulation of capital reverberates throughout communities–stonewalling potential for progress and sustainable development. Meanwhile, the prevailing assumption is that access to capital is an urban-only problem.

In reality, over 52 million people live in distressed communities or opportunity zones nationwide. It takes one look at HUD’s Opportunity Zone Map to notice that capital access is as important for the heartland of America, as it is for urban or coastal cities.

The way forward? Distribute capital to these communities through public and private sector programs and make sure it stays there through innovation, economic and workforce development, and small business promotion. 

Innovation will accelerate progress 

American businesses and communities face mounting challenges such as economic disparities, inflation, and increasing areas of unmet need. Each day without access to capital is one more day of lost jobs, financial instability and communities cut off from opportunities for growth. 

If we want to not just bring capital to communities, but set them up to thrive in the near future (rate hikes or not), we must invest in scalable, technology-powered solutions that can drive immediate economic and community impact where it’s needed, when it’s needed. Frankly, there is no other option.

Randy Garrett is the co-founder and president of OppZo.

The opinions expressed in Fortune.com commentary pieces are solely the views of their authors and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of Fortune.

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Elon Musk’s ‘peace’ plan for Russia and Ukraine met with backlash

Elon Musk took a break from his day job of leading carmaker Tesla and space cargo company SpaceX to post a “peace” plan for ending the war in Ukraine. But his proposal was quickly met with backlash—including from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

On Monday, Musk posted a poll on Twitter with four suggestions to ending the war. The first: Enlist the United Nations to supervise a redo of the recent sham elections by Russia of four Ukrainian regions that it formally annexed last week. Next, he called for Crimea—invaded by Russia in 2014 and currently occupied by it—to formally become part of Russia. Then, he said Crimea’s water supply should be assured. And lastly, he argued, Ukraine should remain neutral rather than joining NATO. 

“This is highly likely to be the outcome in the end – just a question of how many die before then,” Musk wrote, as a follow up. “Also worth noting that a possible, albeit unlikely, outcome from this conflict is nuclear war.” 

Less than three hours after his first tweet, Zelensky responded to Musk with his own poll, mocking Musk’s plan. 

“Which @elonmusk do you like more?” Zelensky asked. The two choices? One who supports Ukraine, and one who supports Russia. 

Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, also piled on Musk in atypical fashion for a diplomat. “Fuck off is my very diplomatic reply to you,” he wrote. Melnyk later added that no Ukrainian would ever buy a Tesla, telling Musk “good luck.”

Musk, however, persisted. 

“Let’s try this then: the will of the people who live in the Donbas & Crimea should decide whether they’re part of Russia or Ukraine,” he wrote—asking his Twitter followers to answer either “yes” or “no.”

Financial Times correspondent Christopher Miller replied to Musk’s tweet, referring to the Ukrainian Independence Referendum, when Ukrainians were asked to vote on the country’s independence.

“Let’s not try that, @elonmusk,” he wrote. “The people of Donbas & Crimea made their decision in 1991, when Ukrainians from those areas & all others voted freely & unanimously to be in Ukraine.” 

Donbas, a region in Eastern Ukraine, is now nearly fully occupied by Russia. But Ukraine has vowed to liberate it. 

In suggesting Crimea—a peninsula that’s been at the center of Russia and Ukraine’s conflicts—should formally become part of Russia, Musk made clear his belief that the region belongs to Russia, adding that Crimea’s being transferred to Ukraine from Russia by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was a “mistake.” 

A top advisor to Zelensky responded sarcastically to Musk’s Twitter diplomacy  by saying there was a “better peace plan”—including Ukraine liberating its territories, Russia demilitarizing and denuclearizing so it can no longer threaten others, and war criminals be put on trial. 

It’s not just Ukrainian officials who pushed back against Musk. Many of his Twitter followers sounded off in the comments, calling him a “disappointment” and asking that he refrain from weighing in on a topic so outside of his expertise.  

Despite the often hostile response, Musk gave his peace plan one more push on Twitter. 

“Russia is doing partial mobilization. They go to full war mobilization if Crimea is at risk. Death on both sides will be devastating,” the tweet said. “Russia has >3 times population of Ukraine, so victory for Ukraine is unlikely in total war. If you care about the people of Ukraine, seek peace.”

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Global recession could happen because of wealthy nations raising interest rates, United Nations says

Governments around the world are determined to bring down inflation whatever the cost, but a growing chorus of voices is pointing out that aggressive monetary policies could have some serious and long-lasting consequences on the world economy.

Central banks in the U.S., Europe, and the U.K. have pursued relentless monetary tightening policies this year to reduce domestic inflation, but transnational institutions including the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund have warned that this approach could push the world into a long period of low economic growth and persistently high prices, according to a Monday report.

“The world is headed towards a global recession and prolonged stagnation unless we quickly change the current policy course of monetary and fiscal tightening in advanced economies,” the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) cautioned in an annual global trade forecast report released on Monday.

The report predicted that current monetary policies in wealthy nations could spark an economic downturn worldwide, with growth slipping from 2.5% in 2022 to 2.2% next year. The UN says that such a slowdown would leave global GDP well below its pre-pandemic norm, and cost the world economy around $17 trillion, or 20% of the world’s income. And developing nations will be the most negatively impacted, according to the report, and many might be facing a recession worse than any financial crisis in the past 20 years.

“The policy moves that we have seen in advanced economies are affecting economic, social, and climate goals. They are hitting the poorest the hardest,” Unctad director Rebeca Grynspan said in a statement accompanying the report’s release.

“They could inflict worse damage than the financial crisis in 2008,” Grynspan said.

A ‘policy-induced’ recession

The UN agency made clear it will hold central banks around the world responsible for causing the next global recession.

“Excessive monetary tightening and inadequate financial support” in advanced economies could backfire spectacularly, resulting in high levels of public and private debt in the developing world, the report says.

Rising interest rates and fears of a coming recession have sent the value of the U.S. dollar soaring against all other currencies this year. And while this has been great news for American tourists traveling abroad, it’s a fiscal nightmare for developing countries, where import prices are rising fast and servicing dollar-denominated debt is becoming untenably expensive.

Debt levels in emerging markets have been hitting record highs for months, but the strong dollar has exacerbated uneven balances and raised inflation in developing nations as well, according to a separate economic report from the UN published on Monday.

With debt becoming more expensive to service, emerging economies have fewer funds available to invest in health care, climate resilience, and other critical infrastructure, the Unctad report warned, which could lead to a prolonged period of economic stagnation.

“We may be on the edge of a policy-induced global recession,” Grynspan said. 

The report urged advanced economies to consider ways to reduce inflation other than raising interest rates. Grynspan insisted that inflation in every country today is because of a “distributional crisis,” caused by supply-chain bottlenecks unresolved from the pandemic-era, and recommended wealthy nations invest more in developing nations and optimizing supply chains around the world.

Grynspan also called for more debt relief and restructuring packages for emerging economies that are struggling to service their debt.

Unctad joins a growing number of transnational institutions calling on wealthy nations to consider what their efforts to reduce inflation at home is doing to the global economy. Last week, World Bank president David Malpass urged wealthy countries to focus on the supply side of the inflation problem by investing more in production in developing nations and in optimizing supply chains.

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Khloé Kardashian takes a brain scan to prove her emotional trauma

If you have the resources, why not undergo a $3,500 test to prove your brain’s been impacted by cheating, loss, and other forms of emotional trauma. Khloé Kardashian did just that, aiming to prove she’s survived emotional trauma and to counter an online quiz she took that said she lacks resilience. 

In the latest episode of Hulu’s The Kardashians, Khloé underwent a single-photon emission computed tomography, or SPECT scan, after being convinced by sister Kendall Jenner who says it showed her she “100%” has anxiety. The scan is a nuclear imaging tool that uses a gamma camera to examine the brain’s activity, producing a 3D image for a doctor to use to see which areas of the brain are most active. X-rays are helpful to examine the body’s anatomy but have difficulty capturing soft tissue the way a nuclear scan can, which is more helpful at looking at organ function, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. 

Khloé met with Dr. Daniel Amen, a psychiatrist and author of You, Happier: The 7 Neuroscience Secrets of Feeling Good Based on Your Brain Type. He explained that the SPECT scan can show where her brain’s blood is flowing, and measures brain activity. 

“It looks at how your brain works,” he explains to Khloé. Other celebrities, including Bella Hadid, have also take the scan with Amen.

When looking at the imaging results of the “emotional brain” scan, Amen explains how you can assess which parts of the brain are overactive or “way too busy” based on blood flow, a way to show the impact of anxiety. 

“You worry, and you can be anxious, and you’ve had trauma,” says Amen, as he describes Khloé’s scan and shows a “diamond” on the screen. “This often will go with emotional trauma.” 

Amen showed Khloé her physical or outer brain image which was “hurt.” Khloé opened up on the show about being in a car crash when she was 16, something the physical image of the brain scan picked up on. The other image Amen showed was the emotional brain scan. She also noted her dad passing away when she was 19, her emotional stress dealing with a past partner who struggled with drug abuse, as well as finding out she was being cheated on while she was pregnant. A lot of this trauma she learned from social media, she says.

“It surprises me that a scan is able to pick up on things that are emotional and not just physical,” Khloé says in a reflection of her experience on the show. This type of scan is used to identify other mental disorders like ADHD and dementia. 

A study found that traumatic events have an impact on the brain, specifically in the amygdala, which regulates emotions; the hippocampus, which regulates memory; and the prefrontal cortex, which plays a role in decision making. For those with anxiety, for example, brain scans can show overactivity in the amygdala or emotional processing area, although they aren’t the sole way of identifying mental health issues.  

Khloé’s brain scan shows she may have been affected by cheating or loss, but emotional trauma doesn’t have to be permanent. Neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to change and create new thought patterns, is a hopeful note that the brain’s emotional trauma is not permanent. 

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