Business & Finanz
The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 02/10/2018

The Economist is the premier source for the analysis of world business and current affairs, providing authoritative insight and opinion on international news, world politics, business, finance, science and technology, as well as overviews of cultural trends and regular Special reports on industries and countries.

United Kingdom
The Economist Newspaper Limited - Europe
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8 Min.
the world this week

Politics In Syria the regime of Bashar al-Assad pounded the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, killing dozens of people. More than 100 fighters backing the regime were killed by US-led forces in a thwarted attack on a rebel stronghold. Turkey suffered its worst losses since invading northern Syria last month. A Russian warplane was shot down over Idlib. And Israeli warplanes fired missiles at positions in Syria, probably to block the transfer of arms to Hizbullah, the Lebanese militia-cum-party backed by Iran. As women in Iran continued to protest against having to cover their heads in public, the office of the president, Hassan Rouhani, released a three-year-old report showing that nearly half of Iranians wanted to end the requirement. Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of one of the main opposition parties in Zimbabwe, was…

5 Min.
running hot

VOLATILITY is back. A long spell of calm, in which America’s stockmarket rose steadily without a big sell-off, ended abruptly this week. The catalyst was a report released on February 2nd showing that wage growth in America had accelerated. The S&P 500 fell by a bit that day, and by a lot on the next trading day. The Vix, an index that reflects how changeable investors expect equity markets to be, spiked from a sleepy 14 at the start of the month to an alarmed 37. In other parts of the world nerves frayed. Markets later regained some of their composure (see page 59). But more adrenalin-fuelled sessions lie ahead. That is because a transition is under way in which buoyant global growth causes inflation to replace stagnation as investors’ biggest…

3 Min.
reheating the groko

THE Berlin Wall stood for 28 years, two months and 27 days; as of this week it has been down for longer. Just as Germany’s “post-Wall” era has come to an end, so the cosy politics of the past three decades looks as if it is running out of inspiration. On February 6th news came that the Christian Democrat alliance (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD), had agreed on yet another grand coalition. Germany is desperate for political renewal, but all that its politicians have been able to come up with is a dreary sort of continuity that has left everyone unhappy. Falling short The coalition agreement sets out some modest ambitions (see page 22). There are spending pledges on infrastructure, where wealthy Germany is surprisingly deficient. The new government will increase…

4 Min.
the billionaires and the falcon heavy

NOTHING declares world-changing ambition like a space rocket. This week’s spectacular test confirmed the Falcon Heavy as the planet’s most powerful operational launch vehicle. It also testified to the outsized vision of Elon Musk, its creator. To ensure humanity’s long-term survival he wants both to colonise Mars and to wean the Earth off fossil fuels. Mr Musk is not the only billionaire entrepreneur with grand ambitions to improve the future of mankind. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, wants to “cure, prevent or manage” all diseases by the end of the century. Bill Gates, having made his fortune at Microsoft, wants to eradicate polio and malaria, as part of a broader goal of improving health and alleviating poverty. Both are among a number of philanthropists who plan to remake education—Mr Zuckerberg’s…

3 Min.
next-generation thinking

FOR more than three decades, telecoms policy, at least in rich countries, has been a one-way street: more deregulation and more privatisation in order to foster more competition. This direction was set by America in 1984, when it broke up AT&T, its telephone monopoly. So there was much surprise at a recent memo, written for the White House by an official at the National Security Council, which argued that the next generation of mobile network, “5G” for short, should be built and run by the American government. The 30-page paper was widely criticised, and quickly dismissed by experts and regulators. Protecting the network from Chinese hacking, the main reason for the proposal, does not require the state to run the entire network. Huawei, a Chinese maker of telecoms gear, is already…

3 Min.
dope on the slopes

PROFESSIONAL athletes pay a high price for their pursuit of excellence and glory. Training to the limit tears muscles and wears out joints. Gymnasts often need hip replacements when barely into middle age. Few footballers make it to the end of their careers with their knees intact. But many also run a darker risk: doping. The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, in South Korea, starts this week in its shadow. Years after whistle-blowers first revealed wholesale doping in Russia, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at last decided to bar it from taking part. But it has allowed many Russians to compete as individuals. And on the eve of the competition the Court of Arbitration for Sport said that 28 others should receive a more lenient penalty from the IOC, further muffling the…