Business & Finanz
The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 11/18/2017

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.

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

Politics The army took control of Zimbabwe, insisting that its coup was not a coup. The generals wanted to stop Robert Mugabe, the country’s 93-year-old dictator, from passing power to his shopaholic wife, Grace. The most likely person to end up in charge is Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was sacked as vice-president earlier this month. João Lourenço, the president of Angola, fired Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of his predecessor and Africa’s richest woman, as chairman of the state oil company. Since succeeding José Eduardo dos Santos in September, Mr Lourenço, who vowed to fight corruption, has also dismissed the governor of the central bank, the head of the state diamond company and the boards of all three state-owned media companies. An earthquake in Iran killed at least 530 people and injured thousands more.…

5 Min.
what they don’t tell you

TWO years ago the world pledged to keep global warming “well below” 2°C hotter than pre-industrial times. Climate scientists and campaigners purred. Politicians patted themselves on the back. Despite the Paris agreement’s ambiguities and some setbacks, including President Donald Trump’s decision to yank America out of the deal, the air of self-congratulation was still on show among those who gathered in Bonn this month for a follow-up summit. Yet the most damaging thing about America’s renewed spasm of climate-change rejection may not be the effect on its own emissions, which could turn out to be negligible. It is the cover America has given other countries to avoid acknowledging the problems of the agreement America is abandoning. The Paris agreement assumes, in effect, that the world will find ways to suck CO2 out…

5 Min.
fall of the dictator

CALIGULA wanted to make his horse consul. Robert Mugabe wanted his wife, Grace, to take over from him as president of Zimbabwe. The comparison is a bit unfair. Caligula’s horse did not go on lavish shopping trips while Romans starved; nor was it accused of assaulting anyone with an electric cable in a hotel room. Grace Mugabe’s only qualification for high office was her marriage to Mr Mugabe, a man 41 years her senior with whom she began an affair while his first wife was dying. Her ambitions were thwarted this week when the army seized power, insisting that this was not a coup while making it perfectly clear that it was (see page 35). Thus, sordidly, ends the era of one of Africa’s great dictators. Mr Mugabe has misruled Zimbabwe…

3 Min.
muddled model

AS CHINESE officials admit, one of the biggest threats to the country’s financial stability is a reckless build-up of local-government debt. What they are less keen to admit is that local governments’ thuggish behaviour, such as grabbing land to sell to developers, and failing to provide the services expected of them, has become a cause of unrest. One reason local governments in China are dysfunctional is the way their finances work (see page 53). They have very limited tax-raising powers of their own. Issuing bonds requires tricky high-level approval. Much of what they raise has to be handed over to the centre, which then redistributes money back to the provinces—supposedly according to their needs. To see how well that works, compare the shabby state-run schools and hospitals of rural counties with…

3 Min.
winning the slottery

YOU may think that an airline’s most valuable asset is its planes. But with Monarch, Britain’s fifth-biggest carrier, which went bust in October, creditors were keenest to claim slices of airspace at particular times of day. Monarch’s landing and take-off slots at British airports are a big enough prize to have caused a court battle. That is a sign of how much the system for allocating them harms competition and consumers. Slots have been sought-after since the 1960s, when airports began to fill up. In response IATA, an airline-industry body, developed a set of guidelines which state that an airline can keep a slot from the previous year if it has been used at least 80% of the time. Those that are not are put into a pool and reallocated; half…

3 Min.
caught in the crossfire

THE first question asked of any new parent is: “Boy or girl?” Across the developed world, the answer matters far less than it used to. Both girls and boys are less constrained by their sex than ever before. Women can not only vote and own property, but stand for election and run companies. Men can care for children—and for their appearance. Both sexes are free to love, and in many countries marry, whomever they wish. But for some, even today’s capacious gender roles do not fit. The number of transgender adults—those who do not identify with the sex on their birth certificates—seems to be rising (see page 55). More are changing their names, clothing and pronouns, taking cross-sex hormones and seeking gender-reassignment surgery. Their rights and status have become the casus…