Business & Finanz
The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 07/29/2017

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 America imposed sanctions on 13 Venezuelan officials ahead of a planned election to a constituent assembly, which will have the power to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution. The sanctions freeze the American assets of the army chief, the interior minister and the head of the electoral commission among others and bar American companies from doing business with them. Critics of the Venezuelan regime say it will use the proposed constituent assembly to snuff out democracy. The opposition called a 48-hour strike to protest against it. A show of force Chinese and Russian warships staged a joint exercise in the Baltic Sea, their first together in those waters. Their navies have stepped up co-operation in recent years. They have also staged war games in the South China Sea and the Mediterranean. China wants to show…

5 Min.
venezuela’s agony

VENEZUELA claims to have more oil than Saudi Arabia, yet its citizens are hungry. An astonishing 93% of them say they cannot afford the food they need, and three-quarters have lost weight in the past year. The regime that caused this preventable tragedy professes great love for the poor. Yet its officials have embezzled billions, making Venezuela the most corrupt country in Latin America, as well as the most ineptly governed. It is a textbook example of why democracy matters: people with bad governments should be able to throw the bums out. That is perhaps why President Nicolás Maduro is so eager to smother what little is left of democracy in Venezuela. On July 30th, barring a last-minute change of mind, Mr Maduro will hold a rigged election to rubber-stamp the…

3 Min.
the new gunboat diplomacy

RARELY in times of peace has a country acquired naval power at such a rate as China has in recent years. Three decades ago its warships were clapped out, capable of operating only close to shore. Now its shipyards are churning out state-of-the-art combat vessels at a furious pace. Some experts believe it could have as many warships as America within a few years. China’s navy is also developing global range: this week three of its ships have been staging war games in the Baltic Sea with the Russian navy, the first joint exercises by the two countries in those waters. The intended message to the West is clear. China and Russia, united in their resentment of American power, are thumbing their noses at NATO on its doorstep. China’s naval build-up…

3 Min.
a special relationship with reality

NO TWO countries are doing more to strain the fabric of modern trade than America and Britain. President Donald Trump wants to rewrite the terms of America’s trade relationships with everyone from Mexico to South Korea. After its vote to leave the European Union, Britain faces having to negotiate fresh trade deals with both the EU and countries beyond. The pair’s tone on trade is different: one wants to put “America First”, the other to create a “global Britain”. But both visions are predicated on the idea of striking swift, bilateral deals, and each has identified the other as the perfect partner. At a meeting of G20 leaders this month, Mr Trump spoke of a “powerful deal, great for both countries”, which would be done “very, very quickly”. On July 24th…

4 Min.
code red

IMAGINE the perfect environment for developing artificial intelligence (AI). The ingredients would include masses of processing power, lots of computer-science boffins, a torrent of capital—and abundant data with which to train machines to recognise and respond to patterns. That environment might sound like a fair description of America, the current leader in the field. But in some respects it is truer still of China. The country is rapidly building up its cloud-computing capacity. For sheer volume of research on AI, if not quality, Chinese academics surpass their American peers; AI-related patent submissions in China almost tripled between 2010 and 2014 compared with the previous five years. Chinese startups are attracting billions in venture capital. Above all, China has over 700m smartphone users, more than any other country. They are consuming digital…

3 Min.
in defence of the childless

ONE by one, prejudices are tumbling in the West. People may harbour private suspicions that other people’s race, sex or sexuality makes them inferior—but to say so openly is utterly taboo. As most kinds of prejudiced talk become the preserve of anonymous social-media ranters, though, one old strain remains respectable. Just ask a childless person. They are not subject to special taxes, as they were in Soviet Russia; nor are they driven from their homes, as they still are in some poor countries. The childless nonetheless come in for a lot of criticism. “Not to have children is a selfish choice,” Pope Francis has intoned, perhaps forgetting what the Bible says about motes and eyes. Others point out that non-parents are failing to produce the future workers who will pay for…