Western firms have piled into emerging markets in the past 20 years. Now comes the reckoning
Although the average company has prospered, there have been disasters; plenty of firms and some whole industries need a rethink. The emerging-market rush may end up like a giant version of the first internet boom 15 years ago. The broad thrust was right but some big mistakes were made.
"Such esoteric partnerships can confuse the authorities. Last November the Home Office invited journalists to accompany officers on a raid of an apparent sham wedding between an Italian man and a Chinese woman in north London. After interrogating the bride, groom and guests, the officers emerged sheepishly to admit that the union was probably real." -- The Economist
looks at the rise of mixed race Britain and the changing ethnic makeup of the UK
"ON DARK evenings in late 1916, a frail 76-year-old man could often be seen shuffling furtively between The Dove, a pub in west London, and the green and gold turrets of Hammersmith Bridge. Passers-by paid no attention, for there was nothing about Thomas Cobden-Sanderson’s nightly walks to suggest that he was undertaking a peculiar and criminal act of destruction."
's Christmas Edition tells the story of "the Fight Over the Doves"
: “No more graceful Roman letter has ever been cut and cast,” [more inside]
PUNK: Chaos To Couture
is an exhibit running at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Reactions have been mixed. [more inside]
The poor in America: In need of help Some 15% of Americans (around 46.2m people) live below the poverty line, as Ms Hamilton does. You have to go back to the early 1960s—before Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programmes—to find a significantly higher rate. Many more, like Ms Dunham, have incomes above the poverty line but nevertheless cannot meet their families’ basic monthly needs, and there are signs that their number is growing.
Once upon a time the fates of these people weighed heavily on American politicians. Ronald Reagan boasted about helping the poor by freeing them from having to pay federal income tax. Jack Kemp, Bob Dole’s running-mate in 1996, sought to spearhead a “new war on poverty.” George W. Bush called “deep, persistent poverty…unworthy of our nation’s promise”.
No longer. Budgets are tight and the safety net is expensive. Mitt Romney famously said he was not “concerned about the very poor” because they have a safety net to take care of them. Mr Obama’s second-term plan mentioned poverty once, and on the trail he spoke gingerly of “those aspiring to the middle class”. “Poor” is a four-letter word.
Last month, JP Morgan Chase announced it had lost $2 billion dollars
in a 'hedging' maneuver. Today, Jamie Dimon, Morgan's chairman and CEO, testified
before the Senate banking committee. [more inside]
If you use Americanisms
just to show you know them, people may find you a tad tiresome, so be discriminating.
You may have to think harder if you are not to use jargon
, but you can still be precise.
Use all metaphors
, dead or alive, sparingly, otherwise you will make trouble for yourself.
Some words add nothing but length
to your prose.
(Notes from The Economist
's style guide
"Any industry would be proud of an average annual growth rate of 34% over ten years and of a global reach from Austria to Taiwan. But the headlong expansion of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which by May this year controlled almost $1.5 trillion of assets (not far short of the $2 trillion in hedge funds), has become a matter for concern among financial regulators. Could ETFs be the next source of financial scandal, or even of systemic risk?
" Characterizing the Financial sector "like a hyperactive child" that "can never leave a good thing be", The Economist
appears to be wishing
for the ETFs
to be better regulated
because "it would be a shame if reckless expansion spoiled a good innovation".
asks a few economists from around the world
: a) Which economists were most influential over the past decade? b) Which economists were doing the most to shape post-crisis thinking? The leading nominees
: Ben Bernanke and Raghuram Rajan
, respectively. In case the second name is unfamiliar, read a recent interview of him in The New Yorker
or take a look at his blog
. [more inside]
Obituaries editors probably belong by the sea. The cries of seagulls are their music, fading into infinity, and the light-filled sky bursts open like a gateway out of the world. The elderly gravitate there, shuffling in cheerful pairs along Marine Parade or jogging in slow motion past the Sea Gull Café, intent on some distant goal. Their skin is weathered and tanned, as if they have fossilised themselves in ozone to keep death at bay. They wear bright trainers, young clothes. But they have shifted to the shore here, or in Bexhill, or in Eastbourne, as if to the edge of life, and each flapping deck-chair reserves a waiting-place. Ann Wroe, obituaries editor of The Economist, muses on mortality and the sea
in the latest correspondent's diary
, a series of articles by various Economist writers. You can read the magazine's obituaries here
, including a recent one of former obituaries editor Keith Colquhoun
. [Ann Wroe previously]
Cheats may or may not prosper, but they despise themselves for cheating.
At least according to an intriguing piece of research published in Psychological Science
by Francesca Gino of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Research suggests wearing fake goods makes you feel a fake yourself, and causes you to be more dishonest in other matters than you would otherwise be.
According to one estimate, mankind created 150 exabytes (billion gigabytes) of data in 2005. This year, it will create 1,200 exabytes. Data data everywhere
and possibly too much to drink
In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year
, NATO may lose in Afghanistan
, the UK gets a regime change
, China needs to chill
, India's factories will overtake its farms
, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum
, the stimulus will need an exit strategy
, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2"
, African football
will unite Korea
, conflict over natural resources will grow
, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled
, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable)
, technology will grow ever more ubiquitous
, we'll all charge our phones via USB
, MBAs will be uncool
, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest
, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world
. And so the Tens
The Economist: The World in 2010
. [more inside]
Two articles from The Economist's Intelligent Life magazine about changes in knowledge production and acquisition, The Last Days of the Polymath
by Edward Carr and Is Google Killing General Knowledge?
by Brian Cathcart. The first deals with the implications of increasing specialization in all field of human activity and the second with whether people are not committing facts to memory because they are so easy to look up on the internet.
In 2009, a remarkably gifted politician, confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges
, will have to learn to say "No we can't"
, Guantánamo will prove a moral minefield
, economic recovery will be invisible to the naked eye
, governments must prepare for the day they stop financial guarantees
, we will judge our commitment to sustainability
, scientists should research the causes of religion
, we will all be potential online paparazzi
, English will have more words than any other language
(but it's meaningless), Afghanistan will see a surge of Western (read: American) troops
, Iran will continue its nuclear quest
while diplomacy lies in shambles
, the sea floor is the new frontier
, we should rethink aging
, (non-)voters will continue to thwart the European project
-- but cheap travel will continue to buoy it
-- though it has some unfinished business to attend to
, and a Nordic defence bond will blossom
.The Economist: The World in 2009
. [more inside]
Esalen: Where "California" Bubbled Up (one photo mildly NSFW) For many others in America and around the world, Esalen stands more vaguely for that metaphorical point where “East meets West” and is transformed into something uniquely and mystically American or New Agey. And for a great many others yet, Esalen is simply that notorious bagno-bordello where people had sex and got high throughout the 1960s and 1970s before coming home talking psychobabble and dangling crystals. In short, Esalen is in every way, even geologically, California at its most extreme. It is its caricature, as well as its noblest expression.
Census sensitivity. The Economist
takes a look at the politics of enumeration.
In 2008, China will fail to ride the Olympics wave and improve its worldwide image
, the US will vote mainly
(barring a terrorist attack or a recession), usher in a period of pragmatic caution
and toast to it over a nice Merlot
, the culture wars will go global
, Israel may decide that it must act alone against Iran
, African gangs will prosper
, UK politics will be re-established as a spectator sport
, we will finally quit oil - and want yet more of it
, the potato will make a comeback
, an island will be moved for the sake of the Euro
, we will rush to give for free what others charge for
, U will HAV CASH
, robots will explore the seas of Earth
, which is round
, by the way, pigs will fly
, and we will like totally love it
The Economist: The World in 2008
. [more inside]
I don't know what other people’s first thoughts may be on Monday mornings; but mine, as the jabber of my husband’s radio crawls into my dreams, is “Has anyone died today?”
a week-long diary
by The Economist's obituaries
editor, Ann Wroe, which she completed today.
The year in verse,
from The Economist
. Via Slate
Ghosts of Rwanda
10 years later, FRONTLINE delivers one of the most powerful episodes in their excellent series of reports. Also covered in The Economist last week
, and a couple years ago in The Atlantic in a sublime article: "Bystanders to Genocide"
. When you first heard about the tragedy did you wish you could have done something, if you had only known more
Do short men get short-changed?
Any real life experiences to back up or refute this study? I found this very interesting: "If a teenage sense of social exclusion influences future earnings, it may have great implications for youngsters from minority groups."
Gerrymandering... uhhh... redistricting:
A fascinating piece from the Economist describing how both of the major US parties are becoming ever more efficient in redefining electoral boundaries to suit themselves at the expense of the electorate. Check out the maps.
"I have no hesitation in describing this mentality, carefully and without heat, as soft on crime and soft on fascism. No political coalition is possible with such people and, I’m thankful to say, no political coalition with them is now necessary. It no longer matters what they think." Christopher Hitchens says that intellectuals of the left who seek to understand the new enemy are no friends of peace, democracy or human life. Two different versions of the same article here
. Along the same lines, a piece from The Economist
arguing that "Whatever its mistakes, the idea that America brought the onslaught upon itself is absurd.
The Economist says "Brands are good for you."
"They not only simplify choices and guarantee quality, but they add fun and interest." You need a subscription to read the cover article (natch), but the cover that appropriates Naomi Klein's book title is at the link, and there is a companion article
you can read. Here's
her response. Are there people who genuinely think that "we" are in charge of the brands? Is this the new corporate line--"Can't we all just get along?"