Business & Finanz
The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 12/09/2017

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 Donald Trump announced that America would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the only country in the world to do so. He said moving America’s embassy from Tel Aviv was a matter of when, not if. Regional Arab and Muslim leaders, and America’s allies in Europe, were virtually united in dismay at the decision. Yemen’s former dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was killed near Sana’a, the capital. He had broken from his Houthi rebel allies and embraced talks with the Saudi-led coalition fighting them. The Houthis quickly repaid what they saw as a betrayal, and gained territory in Sana’a, where crowds celebrated Saleh’s death. The Gulf Co-operation Council summit in Kuwait, scheduled for two days, lasted hardly 15 minutes before breaking up in acrimony. The isolation of Qatar by its neighbours is said to…

5 Min.
the corruption of south africa

SOUTH AFRICA’S Constitutional Court may be the world’s most emotionally powerful building. The courtroom is built with the bricks of the Old Fort prison, where both Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi were held. A glass strip around the courtroom, allowing passers-by to see in, represents transparency. Above the entrance, the values of the constitution are set in concrete in the handwriting of the first constitutional judges after apartheid—including the childlike script of Albie Sachs, who had to learn to write with his left hand after the white regime’s security services blew off his right arm. In painful contrast with its uplifting setting, a recent conversation between an Economist journalist and an official working in the building was, at the official’s request, conducted outside and, as a further precaution against surveillance…

3 Min.
don’t give up

AFTER the Maidan revolution and the start of the Russian war against Ukraine in 2014, Western policy had two aims: to halt and punish Russian aggression and to help Ukraine become a democratic state governed by the rule of law. America imposed sanctions on Russia, ordered the president, Petro Poroshenko, to establish an anti-corruption force and sent Joe Biden, then vice-president, on repeated visits to insist on fighting graft. The EU imposed sanctions on Russia, and made support for civil-society and the rule of law a linchpin of the association agreement it signed with Ukraine in 2014. In that light, the news out of Ukraine over the past few weeks has been dire. The country’s prosecutor-general has disrupted investigations by its National Anti-corruption Bureau, with the apparent consent of Mr Poroshenko.…

4 Min.
twice bankrupt

SOME political theorists argue that the law draws legitimacy not just from voting, but also from public debate before legislation is passed. In voting through a tax-reform bill on December 2nd, Republicans in Congress have tested this principle to destruction. The bill, like most, has its strengths and its weaknesses, but Republicans have rushed it through disregarding the value of consistency and evidence. Their success will weigh on the quality of American government. The Senate’s bill is broadly similar to one that passed in the House of Representatives in November. It would slash the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% (albeit a year later than the House bill). Taxes for unincorporated businesses and individuals would fall substantially. The personal exemption, which reduces a household’s taxable income in accordance with its…

4 Min.
this year in jerusalem

JERUSALEM is both heavenly and earthly, holy and sinful. “Ten measures of beauty God gave to the world, nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest,” says the Talmud. Sometimes, however, it seems as if ten measures of suffering God gave to the world, nine to Jerusalem and one to the rest. The medieval Arab geographer, al-Muqaddasi, called the holy city “a golden bowl full of scorpions”. In announcing this week that America recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and would start the process of moving the American embassy there from Tel Aviv (see page 37), President Donald Trump claimed to be honouring Israel’s democracy. He was, he said, simply acknowledging reality; he still sought peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. In fact, his move has the nasty sting…

4 Min.
giant advantage

TWO letters can add up to a lot of money. No area of technology is hotter than AI, or artificial intelligence. Venture-capital investment in AI in the first nine months of 2017 totalled $7.6bn, according to PitchBook, a data provider; that compares with full-year figures of $5.4bn in 2016. In the year to date there have been $21.3bn in AI-related M&A deals, around 26 times more than in 2015. In earnings calls public companies now mention AI far more often than “big data”. At the heart of the frenzy are some familiar names: the likes of Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. A similar, though less transparent, battle is under way in China among firms like Alibaba and Baidu. Several have put AI at the centre of their strategies. All are…