The Economist: Leaders

Leaders

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Making sense of a purge of China’s security services

PURGES HAVE grown more common since Xi Jinping took over as China’s leader in 2012. To curb graft and snuff out any opposition to his rule, Mr Xi has been hunting in every corner of the country’s vast bureaucracy. Hundreds of thousands of officials have been punished. Thousands, many of them high-ranking, have been sent to prison. Remarkably, however,...

What should Joe Biden do in the Middle East?

JOE BIDEN has made no secret of his frustration with Saudi Arabia. A “pariah” with “very little social redeeming value”, he called its government in 2019. One of his first acts as president was to end American support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Last week he released an intelligence report that blamed the kingdom’s crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman,...

How to make a social safety net for the post-covid world

AFTER THE Depression and the second world war, voters and governments in rich countries recast the relationship between the state and its citizens. Now the pandemic has seen the old rules on social spending ripped up. More than three-quarters of Americans support President Joe Biden’s $1.9trn stimulus bill, which is due in the Senate and includes $1,400...

Nuclear power must be well regulated, not ditched

IT HAS BEEN ten years since a tsunami laid waste the Pacific coast of northern Honshu, Japan’s most populous island. The tsunami and the undersea earthquake which triggered it, the largest ever recorded in the region, killed nearly 20,000 people, destroyed over 100,000 homes and threw the lives of tens of millions into turmoil. The direct economic cost,...

Lessons from Britain’s pandemic on promoting innovation

“WHAT IS IMPORTANT is seldom urgent,” declared Dwight Eisenhower. “And what is urgent is seldom important.” Eisenhower did not have to lead America through covid-19. The urgency and importance of the task over the past year have banished pretty much everything else from most leaders' minds. But now that the vaccine is kicking in, Britain's government...

Time to end duty-free

IN “L’ENFER”, a recent novel by the French philosopher Gaspard Koenig, a university professor dies only to discover that hell is an eternity spent traipsing around airport duty-free shops. Others seem to enjoy the experience rather more. Travel retail has grown into a mastodon, with annual sales of $86bn before the pandemic hit. It is busy adapting...

How to make African politics less costly

AYISHA OSORI, a Nigerian lawyer and author, has vividly described running for political office in her country. She twists the arms of party elders, flatters their wives and hands over wads of banknotes—the cleaner the better. “Without money”, she concludes, “most aspirations would evaporate like steam.” Politics costs money everywhere, but the link...

The rivalry between America and China will hinge on South-East Asia

DURING THEIR 45-year feud, America and the Soviet Union fought proxy battles all across the world. But the cold war was at its most intense in Europe, where the Soviets constantly worried about their satellites breaking away, and America always fretted that its allies were going soft. The contest between China and America, happily, is different from...

The rules of the tech game are changing

THE IDEA of the technology industry being dominated by monopolies is so widely held that it has monopolised much thinking, from investors’ strategies to antitrust watchdogs’ legal briefs. Yet, as we explain, it is getting harder to sustain (see article). After a long period of ossification, the industry is entering a dynamic phase. In America digital...

The Spactacular boom on Wall Street

IT IS EASY to mock SPACs. For decades these “special purpose acquisition vehicles”, publicly listed pots of capital raised by investors who seek out private firms to merge with, have ushered a small number of flaky and irrelevant companies onto public markets. The present SPAC boom on Wall Street began last year and, true to form, features celebrities-on-the-make,...

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