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Rumours of the demise of American enterprise are exaggerated

SOMETHING IS ROTTEN with the state of American capitalism. That, at least, is the sentiment in Washington, DC. Democrats and Republicans argue over the rot’s causes. Progressives blame corporate fat cats. Conservatives finger feckless regulators. But there seems to be agreement across the ideological spectrum that American enterprise isn’t what it used...

How to stop children working

FEW SIGHTS are more pitiful than a child of three, hammer in hand, breaking big rocks into smaller ones to sell for pennies. Such scenes are considered so abhorrent in rich and poor countries alike that the convention of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which outlaws “the worst forms of child labour” (including soldiering, slavery and prostitution)...

The beguiling promise of decentralised finance

THE SCEPTICS have plenty of fodder. The earliest adopters of bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency, used it to buy drugs, while cyber-hackers now demand their ransom in it. Hundreds of millions of dollars of ether, another digital money, were stolen this year after hackers found a bug in some code. Many “believers” are in reality trying to get rich quick...

Why skippers aren’t scuppered

MUCH OF THE time most people do not think about the complex choreography that makes modern shopping possible. You just click and wait—and not too long, mind—for a package or three to arrive on your doorstep. Over the past few months, however, the world’s supply chains have elbowed their way into the foreground, as surging demand for goods and supply...

Why America needs vaccine mandates

ON SEPTEMBER 11TH 2001, when al-Qaeda attacked America, almost 3,000 people died. In response the government overhauled national security and, for better or worse, struck a new balance between liberty and security. On the 20th anniversary of 9/11 roughly 3,100 people in America died because of covid-19. Another 3,100 died on September 12th. And again...

Nayib Bukele is wrecking democracy in El Salvador

NAYIB BUKELE presents himself as a thoroughly modern leader. A year before running to be president of El Salvador in 2019, the former mayor and law-school dropout founded a party called New Ideas. He said that the party would shake up a country plagued by corruption and crime, which has been dominated by a political duopoly since the end of the civil...

Texas’s bounty-hunting abortion law could remain on the books for a long time

WHEN THE Texas legislature passed a law trying to ban abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, many Supreme Court-watchers expected it to be put on hold because it contradicted a right to abortion, enshrined in Roe v Wade, that the court has recognised for nearly 50 years. Instead the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, declined to do this on procedural...

Why nations that fail women fail

AFTER AMERICA and its allies toppled the Taliban in 2001, primary-school enrolment of Afghan girls rose from 0% to above 80%. Infant mortality fell by half. Forced marriage was made illegal. Many of those schools were ropy, and many families ignored the law. But no one seriously doubts that Afghan women and girls have made great gains in the past 20...

The real lessons from 9/11

TWENTY YEARS ago America set out to reshape the world order after the attacks of September 11th. Today it is easy to conclude that its foreign policy has been abandoned on a runway at Kabul airport. President Joe Biden says the exit from Afghanistan was about “ending an era” of distant wars, but it has left America’s allies distraught and its enemies...

Why Madagascar is going hungry

THE PEOPLE of southern Madagascar are in peril. More than 1.1m of them are going hungry, according to the UN. More than 500,000 children under the age of five are at risk of being acutely malnourished. Many families are eking out their meagre diets with cactus. And the suffering is due to increase with the start of the “lean season”, the hungry months...

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