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2018-01-23T17:28:38.554Z
0
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Print section Print Rubric:  Much has been done to strengthen Europe’s banking system. But not enough Print Headline:  A job half-finished Print Fly Title:  European banks UK Only Article:  ...
Print section Print Rubric:  The fate of the Irish frontier shows the compromises that Brexit will force Britain to make Print Headline:  Borderline solution Print Fly Title:  Brexit and the Irish question ...
Print section Print Rubric:  Europe’s boom will not last; it had better make the most of it Print Headline:  The second chance Print Fly Title:  Free exchange UK Only Article:  ...
Print section Print Rubric:  Automation is less of a threat to workers in the emerging world than it is made out to be Print Headline:  Sew what now? Print Fly Title:  Premature deindustrialisation ...
Print section Print Rubric:  Douglas Irwin corrects the record of American trade policy over the years Print Headline:  Sticking up for a scapegoat Print Fly Title:  A history of trade ...
Print section Print Rubric:  Wealth inequality has been increasing for millennia Print Headline:  Capital in the 80th century BC Print Fly Title:  Archaeology UK Only Article:  ...
Main image:  THE one-percenters are now gobbling up more of the pie in America—that much is well known. This trend, though disconcerting, is not unique to the modern era. A new study by Timothy Kohler of Washington State University and 17 others finds that inequality may well have been rising for several thousand years, at least in some parts of the world. The scholars examined 63 archaeological sites and estimated the levels of wealth inequality in the societies whose remains were dug up, by studying the distributions of house sizes. As a measure they used the Gini coefficient (a perfectly equal society would have a Gini coefficient of zero). It rose from about 0.2 around 8000BC in Jerf el-Ahmar, on the Euphrates in modern-day Syria, to 0.5 in around 79AD in Pompeii. Data on burial goods, though sparse, suggest similar trends. The researchers suggest agriculture is to blame. The nomadic lifestyle is not conducive to wealth accumulation. Only when humans switched to farming did people truly begin to acquire material riches. Inequality rose steadily after the shift into settled agriculture, but tailed off in the Americas after around 2,500 years. In the old world, however, wealth inequality continued climbing for...
Print section Print Rubric:  Timelier loan-loss provisions may make earnings and lending choppier Print Headline:  Stage fright Print Fly Title:  Accounting and banks UK Only Article:  ...
Print section Print Rubric:  Beefing up mobile-phone and internet penetration Print Headline:  The right connections Print Fly Title:  Connectivity UK Only Article:  ...
Print section Print Fly Title:  On globalisation, mussels, Russia, politics UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  America’s global influence has dwindled under Donald Trump Fly Title:  ...
Main image:  PROTESTANTISM has played a large part in the development of the modern, liberal world. It has contributed to the emergence of concepts such as freedom of conscience, tolerance and the separation of powers. But as the world marks the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation, the faith’s axis is shifting. The percentage of Western Europeans and North Americans professing Protestantism is declining, whereas in the developing world the proportion is growing fast. For much of the 20th century, global secularisation was considered inevitable as nations modernised. But the developing world is actually becoming more religious, part of what Peter Berger, a sociologist, called the “desecularisation” of the world. At the heart of this religious resurgence have been Islam and Pentecostalism, a branch of Protestant Christianity. Islam grew at an annual average of 1.9% between 2000 and 2017, mainly as the result of a high birth rate. Pentecostalism grew at 2.2% each year, mainly by conversion. Half of developing-world Christians are Pentecostal, evangelical or charismatic (all branches of the faith emphasise the authority of the Bible and the need for a spiritual rebirth). Why are people so attracted to it?Christianity has always had ecstatic elements,...
Main image:  A DECADE after mobile phones began to spread in Africa, they have become commonplace even in the continent’s poorest countries. In 2016 two-fifths of people in sub-Saharan Africa had mobile phones. Their rapid spread has beaten all sorts of odds. In most African countries, less than half the population has access to electricity. In a third of those countries, less than a quarter does. Yet in much of the continent people with mobile phones outnumber those with electricity, never mind that many have to walk for miles to get a signal or recharge their phones’ batteries.Mobile phones have transformed the lives of hundreds of millions for whom they were the first, and often the only, way to connect with the outside world. They have made it possible for poor countries to leapfrog much more than landline telephony. Mobile-money services, which enable people to send cash straight from their phones, have in effect created personal bank accounts that people can carry in their pockets. By one estimate, the M-Pesa mobile-money system alone lifted about 2% of Kenyan households out of poverty between 2008 and 2014. Technology cannot solve all of Africa’s problems, but it can help with...
Print section Print Rubric:  The big risks may be in corporate, not government, bonds Print Headline:  Yielding to temptation Print Fly Title:  Buttonwood UK Only Article:  ...
Print section Print Rubric:  Protestantism shaped the development of the modern liberal West. What does its current revival mean for the developing world? Print Headline:  The stand Print Fly Title:  Luther’s reformation ...
Print section Print Rubric:  That crucial Franco-German axis Print Headline:  A certain idea Print Fly Title:  France in Europe UK Only Article:  ...
Print section Print Rubric:  Marital choices are exacerbating household income inequality Print Headline:  Matching theory Print Fly Title:  Assortative mating UK Only Article:  ...
Print section Print Headline:  GDP forecasts UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Jeremy Corbyn: Britain’s most likely next prime minister Global GDP is projected to grow by 3.7% in 2018, slightly more than in 2017, according to the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries. Since their previous forecasts in June the...
Main image:  AS EXPECTED, the Federal Reserve announced on September 20th that it will soon begin reversing the asset purchases it made during and after the financial crisis. From October, America’s central bank will stop reinvesting all of the money it receives when its assets start to mature. As a result, its $4.5trn balance-sheet will gradually shrink. However, the Fed did not give any clues as to what the endpoint for the balance-sheet should be. This is an important question. There are strong arguments for keeping the balance-sheet large. In fact, it might be better were the Fed not shedding any assets at all. Most commentators view a large balance-sheet, which is the result of quantitative easing (QE), as an extraordinary economic stimulus. Janet Yellen, the Fed’s chair, seems to agree: at a press conference after the Fed announcement, she said the balance-sheet should shrink because the stimulus it provides to the economy is no longer needed. But the claim that the balance-sheet is stimulating the economy is far from an established fact. The theoretical case for it is weak (Ben Bernanke, Mrs Yellen’s predecessor, famously quipped that QE “works in practice, but it doesn’t work in theory”). While...
Main image:  This week “The Economist explains” is given over to economics. Today’s is the third in a series of six explainers on seminal ideas.IN THE depths of the Great Depression, more than a quarter of America’s workers could not find employment. There was not enough demand for the goods and services they could supply. Today America’s workforce can produce more than 17 times as much, but unemployment is under 5%. Somehow demand, so inadequate in the 1930s, is sufficient to match a massively increased supply of goods and services eight decades later. This happy outcome would have surprised some economists of the 1930s, who worried about a “secular” (ie, persistent) stagnation of demand. But it would have been no surprise at all to an older generation of economists, led by Jean-Baptiste Say. His best-known work, “A Treatise on Political Economy”, ran to six editions between 1803 and 1841. It contained much of what became known as Say’s law, the notion that supply creates its own demand.Say and his intellectual allies pointed out that people would not go to all the trouble of producing a good or service, unless they intended to obtain something of equal value in return....
Main image:  ON SEPTEMBER 14th, Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, presented the outline of a reform plan for the State Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to the Office of Management and Budget. Alongside a plan to cut up to $10bn from the State Department’s budget over five years, the proposals included a closer alignment of the department and USAID—potentially involving a full takeover of the semi-independent aid agency. That would require Congressional support, which may not be forthcoming: the Senate has already pushed back against the administration’s proposed cuts to the USAID budget, suggesting the agency enjoys some bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. But reform of America’s overseas assistance programmes is long overdue, and should involve a lot more than revamped organisation charts.Every presidential administration since the 1970s has initiated efforts to reorganize foreign aid. But calls for more significant reform are growing, with good reason. While America’s aid programme is the world’s largest, it is far from the world’s most respected. Only about 5% of America’s aid flows meet internationally agreed best practice standards around the use of recipient country budget, audit and procurement systems. That compares to a 50% average across...