The Economist November 6, 2021

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51 Numéros

dans ce numéro

8 min
the world this week

Politics Rebels from Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region captured two strategic towns and were poised to march on Addis Ababa, the capital. An allied rebel force, claiming to represent the Oromos, Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group, said it had cut roads to Addis Ababa from the south. Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s prime minister, declared a state of emergency and said Ethiopia would defeat the rebels with “the bones and blood of her children”. Tigrayans in the capital were rounded up and detained. The African National Congress, which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994, suffered its biggest-ever electoral defeat, falling below 50% in a nationwide ballot for the first time. The elections were local ones, which typically produce a lower turnout of ANC supporters. But they suggest that the party may…

5 min
one year on

TWO OF THE better books on the job invented for George Washington share a title: “The Impossible Presidency”. Even the most capable presidents are doomed to fail, writes Jeremi Suri in the more recent of them: “Limiting the failure and achieving some good along the way—that is the best we can expect.” Even by these gloomy standards, Joe Biden is foundering. Having received more votes than any candidate in history, he has seen his approval ratings collapse. At this point in a first term only Donald Trump was more unpopular. The Democrats have just lost the three top statewide offices in Virginia, which Mr Biden won by ten percentage points a year ago (see United States section). This augurs poorly for next year’s mid-terms: his party will probably lose its congressional…

3 min
bond traders stir

GLOBAL BOND markets are wakening from a long slumber. The Federal Reserve this week said it will wind down its vast bond-buying programme. At the same time, bond investors are reacting to higher inflation: across a group of 35 economies, fiveyear bond yields have risen by an average of 0.65 percentage points in the past three months. A shakeout is taking place not only in emerging markets but also in rich countries such as Australia and Britain (see Finance & economics section). Sudden moves inevitably spark fears of market turmoil, along the lines of the “taper tantrum” in 2013. However, the bond shift taking place today is actually very different. Before the pandemic interest rates across the world were low, reflecting dormant inflation. When the coronavirus struck almost two years ago,…

3 min
are rules for losers?

THE FACTS are damning. Owen Paterson, a former Tory Cabinet minister now on the backbenches, was paid £9,000 ($12,700) a month for consulting work by two companies, one and a half times his parliamentary salary. And, sure enough, he earned his keep by lobbying ministers and officials on their behalf. The commissioner for standards, an independent officer, concluded that he had brought Parliament into disrepute. Its cross-party standards committee recommended a 30-day suspension. But on November 3rd, in a scheme cooked up barely 24 hours earlier, Tory MPs voted, under instruction from the government, to sidestep the whole sleazy mess by creating a new committee to examine the way MPs are overseen. Mr Paterson’s case will thus be reconsidered. It was as if an appellate court had found a guilty verdict…

4 min
the uses and abuses of green finance

ALAS, THE COP26 summit in Glasgow is shaping up to be a disappointment. The hope that emerging markets, which belch out much of the world’s greenhouse gases, would announce ambitious proposals is being dashed. The plans of China, India and Brazil all underwhelm. There is no sign this will be the COP that kills coal, as Britain, the host, wanted. World leaders have still not agreed to stop subsidising fossil fuels. But one area where enthusiasm is growing is climate finance. Financial institutions representing nearly $9trn in assets pledged to uproot deforestation from their investment portfolios (see International section). The most striking announcement has come from the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), a coalition co-chaired by Mark Carney, a former governor of the Bank of England. Its members, which…

4 min
act now to avert carnage in ethiopia

THE NAME of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa (New Flower), belies its frequent violent changes of government in recent decades. The Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown and later strangled. Mengistu Haile Mariam, a Marxist despot, shot his way to power, imposed a “red terror” and was later ousted by a rebel coalition led by Tigrayans. Now history is rhyming. Once more the federal government is fighting rebels from Tigray. Once more it has deliberately blocked food and medicine from entering this northern region, where 400,000 people are now starving and millions are at risk. Once more the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is marching on Addis Ababa. In a rapid offensive it has captured towns straddling the roads north of the capital. An allied band, which claims to represent the Oromos, Ethiopia’s…