Business & Finanz
The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 03/03/2018

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.

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

Politics China’s Communist Party proposed the abolition of term limits for the posts of president and vice-president. The country’s rubber-stamp parliament is expected to give its approval early this month. The change will make it easier for Xi Jinping to cling to power indefinitely, raising concerns in Western capitals that China will renege on promises to liberalise markets and allow limited forms of democracy. Ashraf Ghani, the president of Afghanistan, offered to allow the insurgents of the Taliban to become a political party and contest elections if they agreed to a ceasefire and promised to work within the constitution. The Taliban have called for talks with America, not the Afghan government. America announced new measures aimed at enforcing UN sanctions on North Korea. It blacklisted 28 ships thought to be smuggling oil to…

6 Min.
what the west got wrong

LAST weekend China stepped from autocracy into dictatorship. That was when Xi Jinping, already the world’s most powerful man, let it be known that he will change China’s constitution so that he can rule as president for as long as he chooses—and conceivably for life. Not since Mao Zedong has a Chinese leader wielded so much power so openly. This is not just a big change for China (see page 48), but also strong evidence that the West’s 25-year bet on China has failed. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West welcomed the next big communist country into the global economic order. Western leaders believed that giving China a stake in institutions such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) would bind it into the rules-based system set up after…

4 Min.
povera italia

TO HEAR Italy’s politicians tell it, the country is, if not quite out of the woods, then at least emerging into an unexpected clearing, blinking gratefully. Growth has returned, exports are up, some of the weakest banks have been repaired and even the migration crisis seems to be under control, thanks to a deal with Libya’s warlords. Emboldened, the aspirants are outbidding each other to promise gifts to voters. Benefits will rise, taxes will fall and jobs will soon return. Sadly, things are not quite so rosy. The deal with Libya is precarious, to say the least. Although the economy is expanding again, its recovery is much weaker than that of the other big euro-area economies. Output growth of 1.7% a year trails the euro-zone average by a full percentage point.…

3 Min.
plastic surgery

IT IS everywhere, as visible as it is vilified. From car parts to crisp packets, plastic has suffused the Earth, and beyond—in 1969 Neil Armstrong planted a nylon Stars and Stripes on the moon. More than 8bn tonnes has been produced since the 1950s, enough to wrap the continents in clingfilm four times over. Only 9% was recycled; 60% was dumped, mostly in landfills, too often in the natural world. Untold tonnes end up as irretrievable ocean flotsam, which sunlight and salt fragment into microscopic pieces that attract toxins and may be gulped by creatures that become seafood. Plastic weighs heavily on the mind, too. Nine in ten Europeans worry about its impact on ecosystems; three in four fret that it can harm their own health. In Britain hatred of plastic…

3 Min.
no mere formality

FOR hulking bureaucracy, it is a thoughtful gesture. Each year the chairman of the Indian Central Board of Direct Taxation e-mails a “Certificate of Appreciation” to every resident who has paid over 100,000 rupees ($1,500) in tax. There are even helpful instructions on how best to print out this “recognition of your contribution towards building of our great nation”, should you want to frame it. Fret not for India’s forests. In a country of 1.3bn, fewer than 400,000 of these precious testaments were awarded in the latest wave. Not many Indians make enough money to pay that kind of income tax, and many of those who do opt not to. Perhaps half of India’s economic activity, and even more of its jobs, involve dodging tax. That is why Narendra Modi, the…

2 Min.
#metoo, part two

IN OFFICES around the world, the scandal over Harvey Weinstein’s depredations has obliged men to rethink their interactions with women. Many are struggling to decipher where the bounds of propriety lie (handshake or kiss?). In Hollywood itself, the furore has ruined reputations and ended careers. And film executives have been forced to reconsider not just workplace mores but the stories they choose to tell. It is a disorienting moment, but a promising one—for female artists, the studios themselves and for their viewers. For such a faddish industry, Hollywood can be amazingly ossified. Female characters may no longer be tied to train-tracks and rescued by mustachioed heroes, but they still tend to be stereotyped and marginalised. Male actors do most of the talking; women are far likelier to take their clothes off.…