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The EconomistThe Economist

The Economist

March 16, 2019

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Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
The Economist Newspaper Limited
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51 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

access_time8 min.
the world this week

Politics The British government’s draft Brexit deal was again roundly defeated in Parliament. The prime minister, Theresa May, had won assurances from Brussels that the “backstop”, which would keep Britain in the EU’s customs union to avoid a hard border in Ireland, was temporary, but this failed to satisfy Brexiteers. MPs also voted against a no-deal Brexit. Two German journalists were forced to leave Turkey after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government refused to renew their accreditation. Mr Erdogan has successfully tamed Turkey’s media. He has now trained his sights on the foreign press. Estonia’s prime minister, Juri Ratas, invited the anti-immigrant EKRE party to coalition talks, reversing a promise not to deal with the group. Finland’s government resigned ahead of a general election next month. Debilitating democracyProtests continued…

access_time5 min.
whatever next?

WHEN HISTORIANS come to write the tale of Britain’s attempts to leave the European Union, this week may be seen as the moment the country finally grasped the mess it was in. In the campaign, Leavers had promised voters that Brexit would be easy because Britain “holds all the cards”. This week Parliament was so scornful of the exit deal that Theresa May had spent two years negotiating and renegotiating in Brussels that MPs threw it out for a second time, by 149 votes—the fourth-biggest government defeat in modern parliamentary history. The next day MPs rejected what had once been her back-up plan of simply walking out without a deal. The prime minister has lost control. On Wednesday four cabinet ministers failed to back her in a crucial vote.…

access_time5 min.
worth fighting for

THE ATLANTIC OCEAN is starting to look awfully wide. To Europeans the United States appears ever more remote, under a puzzling president who delights in bullying them, questions the future of the transatlantic alliance and sometimes shows more warmth towards dictators than democrats. Americans see an ageing continent that, though fine for tourists, is coming apart at the seams politically and falling behind economically—as feeble in growth as it is excessive in regulation. To Atlanticists, including this newspaper, such fatalism about the divisions between Europe and America is worrying. It is also misplaced.True, some gaps are glaring. America has abandoned the Paris climate accord and the nuclear deal with Iran, whereas Europe remains committed to both. Other disagreements threaten. President Donald Trump has called the European Union a “foe”…

access_time3 min.
plane truths

WHEN A BOEING 737 MAX 8 crashed near Addis Ababa after take-off on March 10th, 157 people lost their lives. It did not take long for the human tragedy to raise questions about what went wrong. That has fed a crisis of trust in Boeing and in the FAA, the American regulator which, even as its counterparts grounded the MAX 8, left it flying for three days before President Donald Trump stepped in, suspending all MAX planes.Mr Trump noted that Boeing was “an incredible company”. In fact the crash is a warning. After a 20-year boom, one of the West’s most sophisticated industries faces a difficult future.The MAX 8 is one of Boeing’s most advanced models. Until this week it has been a commercial triumph, with 370 in operation…

access_time3 min.
the big flip

THAT CHINA sells more to the world than it buys from it can seem like an immutable feature of the economic landscape. Every year for a quarter of a century China has run a current-account surplus (roughly speaking, the sum of its trade balance and net income from foreign investments). This surplus has been blamed for various evils including the decline of Western manufacturing and the flooding of America’s bond market with the excess savings that fuelled the subprime housing bubble.Yet the surplus may soon disappear. In 2019 China could well run its first annual current-account deficit since 1993. The shift from lender to borrower will create a knock-on effect, gradually forcing it to attract more foreign capital and liberalise its financial system. China’s government is only slowly waking…

access_time3 min.
shrinks, expanded

IN ANY GIVEN year one person in six is afflicted by a mental illness. Most cases involve mild-to-moderate depression or anxiety. Some sufferers recover on their own. For many, however, the condition is left untreated and may become chronic or severe. In the past social stigma meant that people kept their pain to themselves. The stigma is now melting away. Yet in rich Western countries two-thirds of people with a mental-health problem do not receive any treatment for it. In poor countries hardly any do. And almost everywhere, psychiatrists and clinical psychologists are scarce. Often they are the only people whom states or insurers will pay to treat mental illness, so those who seek help must wait months for it. The cost in human misery is huge. Mental-health care…

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