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Journal Cover The Economist - Leaders
  [22 followers]  Follow
   Full-text available via subscription Subscription journal
   ISSN (Online) 1358-274X
   Published by The Economist Group Homepage  [5 journals]
  • Britain underestimates Brexit’s damage to Northern Ireland
    • Authors: The Economist online
      Abstract: BRITAIN’S bloodiest battlefield of the past half-century was not in the Middle East, the Balkans or the South Atlantic. It was on home turf. A thousand British soldiers and police officers were killed in Northern Ireland during three decades of the “Troubles”, twice the number who died in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. The civilian death-toll was twice as high again.Twenty years ago that awful conflict was ended by the Good Friday Agreement. As Britain and Ireland each softened their claim to the province, Protestants and Catholics agreed to share power in Stormont. The centuries-old question of to whom Northern Ireland belonged was carefully buried for future generations to unearth when they were ready.Now Britain’s impending exit from the European Union, foreseen by nobody in 1998, has posed the question again, long before Northern Ireland has an answer. Britain’s ruling Conservatives treat this as, at best, a detail and, at worst, an irritation on the road to Brexit. That is an error—possibly a fatal one.After...Continue reading
      PubDate: Wed, 28 Mar 2018 15:36:08 +000
  • Fifteen years after America’s invasion, Iraq is doing well
    • Authors: The Economist online
      Abstract: IT IS less than four years since the homicidal zealots of Islamic State (IS) stood on the doorstep of Baghdad, their black flag already fluttering over several other Iraqi cities. The jihadists triumphed, albeit temporarily, because disgruntled Sunnis, former Baathists and others who felt alienated by the rule of Nuri al-Maliki, the Shia prime minister, stood aside. The central government lost control over much of the country. The independence-minded Kurds in the north watched while Iraq fell apart—until IS turned on them, too.Today things look very different. Iraq has defeated IS and avoided the wave of Shia-on-Sunni violence that many predicted would follow. The number of civilians killed each month in fighting is a fraction of what it was in 2014. The government in Baghdad saw off a premature Kurdish push for independence last year. Oil production is up and the state has money. The power of foreigners, including Iran and America, has diminished as Iraqi politicians have learnt how to play one...Continue reading
      PubDate: Wed, 28 Mar 2018 15:36:08 +000
  • Scrapping the Iran nuclear deal will harm America
    • Authors: The Economist online
      Abstract: LAST summer John Bolton was a hawk with clipped wings. The former ambassador to the UN and cheerleader for the Iraq invasion was grumbling that White House staff were thwarting his attempts to give President Donald Trump his plan for scrapping the Iran nuclear deal brokered by Barack Obama in 2015. Not any more. On April 9th Mr Bolton, whose walrus moustache and verbal bluster mask a skilled and ruthless bureaucratic infighter, becomes Mr Trump’s national security adviser. As a result, that deal to roll back Iran’s nuclear-weapons programme seems on its last legs. That is bad news for the Middle East, for America’s allies and for America itself.Mr Trump has long scorned the deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the “worst ever”. Yet every 120 days he must sign a waiver for sanctions to remain unenforced—and hence for America to continue to honour the agreement. Mr Trump half-disowned the Iran pact in January, but the sobersides in uniforms and suits running his foreign...Continue reading
      PubDate: Wed, 28 Mar 2018 15:36:08 +000
  • The workplace of the future
    • Authors: The Economist online
      Abstract: ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI) is barging its way into business. As our special report this week explains, firms of all types are harnessing AI to forecast demand, hire workers and deal with customers. In 2017 companies spent around $22bn on AI-related mergers and acquisitions, about 26 times more than in 2015. The McKinsey Global Institute, a think-tank within a consultancy, reckons that just applying AI to marketing, sales and supply chains could create economic value, including profits and efficiencies, of $2.7trn over the next 20 years. Google’s boss has gone so far as to declare that AI will do more for humanity than fire or electricity.Such grandiose forecasts kindle anxiety as well as hope. Many fret that AI could destroy jobs faster than it creates them. Barriers to entry from owning and generating data could lead to a handful of dominant firms...Continue reading
      PubDate: Wed, 28 Mar 2018 08:18:26 +000
  • Even if America wins concessions, worry
    • Authors: The Economist online
      Abstract: JUST six words suffice to sum up President Donald Trump’s approach to trade (and, you may mutter, too much else): make threats, strike deals, declare victory. In recent weeks Mr Trump’s campaign-trail threats of 2016 have been turned into tariffs of 25% on imports of steel and 10% on aluminium, and proposed levies on up to $60bn-worth of Chinese goods.Foreigners have duly queued to sue for peace. On March 26th South Korea agreed to limit its steel exports to America, and accepted an extension of American tariffs on its pickup trucks. China is said to be discussing cuts in tariffs on American cars, increased purchases of American semiconductors and the further opening of its financial industry. With many of America’s allies belatedly exempted from the metals tariffs, and consensus among policymakers and business types that China should indeed change its behaviour, stockmarkets are less fearful of an outright trade war (see Buttonwood). The man who tweeted that “trade wars are good, and easy to win” may be able to claim a string of victories with scarcely a shot fired.Vindication' Far from it. For one thing, no deal has yet been done with China. Other countries have politics too,...Continue reading
      PubDate: Wed, 28 Mar 2018 08:18:18 +000
  • Getting medicines to market faster
    • Authors: The Economist online
      Abstract: REGULATORS can be both a help and a hindrance to the medical industry. A strong regulator increases confidence in drugs and devices, reassuring payers and patients alike. That explains why the Chinese drugs regulator recently adopted tougher standards. Yet rules can also impose too great a burden on firms, slowing innovation and reducing competition.The head of America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Scott Gottlieb, has spent his first year in office tilting the balance away from rulemaking and towards efficiency. Some criticise Mr Gottlieb, who once worked in the industry, for still being its accomplice. Instead, he should be applauded. Nobody expects the FDA to solve America’s messed-up health-care system, but its goal—of making it cheaper and easier for promising drugs to reach patients—is a step in the right direction (see article).One thing Mr...Continue reading
      PubDate: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 15:47:55 +000
  • Egypt’s choice: President Sisi, or a man who adores him
    • Authors: The Economist online
      Abstract: THE election in Egypt, which begins on March 26th, will have two candidates. One is Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the president, an ex-military man who seized power in a coup in 2013. The other is Moussa Mustafa Moussa, whose party fawningly supports Mr Sisi and who refuses to take part in a debate with the president because that would be disrespectful (see article). The election, in other words, is a farce.Why, then, should Egyptians bother to vote? Mr Sisi’s big claim is that he has restored order. In 2011 mass protests led to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, a dreary despot. The next year Egyptians elected Muhammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who tried to grab dictatorial powers and put his Islamist chums in charge of practically everything. He failed only because then-General Sisi toppled him. All this upheaval sent investors and...Continue reading
      PubDate: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 15:47:55 +000
  • Bangladesh shows how to keep children alive
    • Authors: The Economist online
      Abstract: FOR adventurous travellers, it is merely an embarrassing nuisance. But among poor people diarrhoea is a killer. As many as half a million children are thought to die every year from enteric diseases, including cholera and dysentery. Repeated infections also weaken them, laying them open to attack from other killers such as pneumonia. Diarrhoea can even change a population’s appearance. One reason Indian children are shorter than sub-Saharan African children from families of similar means is that they fall sick more often.So it is delightful to report that one of Asia’s poorest countries, Bangladesh, is making huge progress against this scourge (see article). In one part of the country with particularly good data, deaths from diarrhoea and other enteric diseases have fallen by 90% in the past two decades. Along with a far-reaching vaccination programme and steady economic growth, that...Continue reading
      PubDate: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 15:47:55 +000
  • The struggle for Russia is just beginning
    • Authors: The Economist online
      Abstract: THE ballot-stuffing, blatant and in full view of the cameras, only underlined Vladimir Putin’s impunity. The official result on March 18th gave him 77% of the vote, on a turnout of almost 70%. But the unofficial one would not have been very different. The election was not a genuine exercise of choice so much as a ritual acknowledgment of who holds power. After 18 years, Mr Putin is not just the president but the tsar.As important as last weekend’s vote, however, is the struggle to come. That will be over the future of Russia. And, as impregnable as Mr Putin looks, it begins today.The gun has firedMr Putin cannot legally run again for president in 2024. Drawing on a mix of persuasion and brutal repression, he could force through changes to the constitution to let himself stand again, as Xi Jinping has just done in China. Or he may retire from his daily duties instead, as Deng Xiaoping did, in the hope of exerting power from behind the scenes. But then again, if...Continue reading
      PubDate: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 15:47:55 +000
  • Facebook faces a reputational meltdown
    • Authors: The Economist online
      Abstract: LAST year the idea took hold that Mark Zuckerberg might run for president in 2020 and seek to lead the world’s most powerful country. Today, Facebook’s founder is fighting to show that he is capable of leading the world’s eighth-biggest listed company or that any of its 2.1bn users should trust it.News that Cambridge Analytica (CA), a firm linked to President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, got data on 50m Facebook users in dubious, possibly illegal, ways has lit a firestorm (see article). Mr Zuckerberg took five days to reply and, when he did, he conceded that Facebook had let its users down in the past but seemed not to have grasped that its business faces a wider crisis of confidence. After months of talk about propaganda and fake news, politicians in Europe and, increasingly, America see Facebook as out of control and in denial....Continue reading
      PubDate: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 09:03:17 +000
  • How to save Tanzania
    • Authors: The Economist online
      Abstract: THE white beach of Dar es Salaam may seem enticing. Yet the bodies that have washed up on it, almost in sight of the city’s glistening offices and hotels, are a sign of Tanzania’s sickening lurch to despotism. Opposition politicians are being shot; activists and journalists are disappearing.Until recently Tanzania’s political stability drew investors and donors, spurring one of the fastest sustained streaks of economic growth in Africa. But John Magufuli, an authoritarian and erratic president in his third year in office, threatens to undo much that Tanzania has achieved over the past few decades. The rest of Africa, and the world, should not keep quiet.The Teacher’s flawed lessonsTanzania matters, in part because of the aura of the late Julius Nyerere, its first prime minister, as a founding father of post-colonial Africa (he is still affectionately known as Mwalimu or “Teacher”). Like many other leaders of the time, he was an autocrat, instituting one-party rule on the...Continue reading
      PubDate: Thu, 15 Mar 2018 15:50:09 +000
  • American foreign policy after Rexit
    • Authors: The Economist online
      Abstract: EVEN by the reality-TV standards of this White House, the manner in which Rex Tillerson was sacked as secretary of state was jaw-dropping. President Donald Trump fired him by tweet, saying that he would be replaced by Mike Pompeo, director of the CIA. He did not call him until much later, nor did he offer an explanation. Mr Tillerson’s spokesman said that he had no idea why his boss had been fired. So he was fired, too.Mr Tillerson was a poor secretary of state. Having run ExxonMobil, the tenth-biggest company in the world by revenue, he treated diplomacy like business and his department like a division ripe for restructuring. He seemed to regard his underlings as idle assets and they repaid him with their scorn (see article). So, too, did the president, at least after reports that Mr Tillerson had called him a...Continue reading
      PubDate: Thu, 15 Mar 2018 15:50:09 +000
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