The Economist Continental Europe Edition September 4, 2021

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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51 Numéros

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1 min
coronavirus briefs

The director of the WHO in Europe said that booster jabs were not a luxury and would protect vulnerable people. The comments came amid worries about a slowdown in vaccinations across the EU. They are also somewhat at odds with the WHO’s position that boosters in rich countries may lead to vaccine shortages in poor ones. Israel reported a record number of daily infections. The country has rolled out a programme of booster jabs. The rate of severe illness from covid-19 is much higher among the unvaccinated than among the vaccinated. Britain’s health service was told to get ready for vaccinating 12- to 15- year olds, pending official advice on whether it is safe to do so. The eu removed America from a list of safe countries for travel and recommended that member…

7 min
the world this week

Politics The last American soldiers left Afghanistan, bringing an end to their 20-year mission. Taliban fighters celebrated, donning American uniforms and taking selfies with abandoned military equipment. The death toll from a suicide-bombing at Kabul airport passed 170. An American drone strike killed suicide-bombers preparing for another attack; the Taliban said ten civilians also died. Joe Biden described the evacuation as an “extraordinary success”, despite the many Afghans who helped America and have been left behind to face Taliban reprisals. Hurricane Ida struck Louisiana, leaving 1m people without power. Its remnants brought flooding to New York, shutting down the city’s subway system. Residents were told not to use their cars. America’s Supreme Court refused to stop a Texan law coming into force that in effect bans abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy.…

7 min
the threat from the illiberal left

SOMETHING HAS gone very wrong with Western liberalism. At its heart classical liberalism believes human progress is brought about by debate and reform. The best way to navigate disruptive change in a divided world is through a universal commitment to individual dignity, open markets and limited government. Yet a resurgent China sneers at liberalism for being selfish, decadent and unstable. At home, populists on the right and left rage at liberalism for its supposed elitism and privilege. Over the past 250 years classical liberalism has helped bring about unparalleled progress. It will not vanish in a puff of smoke. But it is undergoing a severe test, just as it did a century ago when the cancers of Bolshevism and fascism began to eat away at liberal Europe from within. It is…

3 min
do not move on, move forwards

NOW WHAT? The debate about who is to blame for the chaos at Kabul airport over the past few weeks, as well as all the mistakes that went before it, has raged so intensely that what the West should do next has seemed a secondary question. But it has become a pressing one. The last American soldiers left Kabul on August 30th, ending the 20-year effort to shape events in Afghanistan directly. America and its allies must now decide how best to influence the country from a distance. For some, the answer is simple. The Taliban are so odious, so violent, repressive and untrustworthy, that America should have as little as possible to do with them. Handing out aid or initiating formal diplomatic ties would only strengthen the new regime, the…

3 min
delta means change

IT HAS BEEN a summer of unpleasant surprises for the world economy. America, Europe and China are growing more slowly than investors had hoped. Consumer prices are rising uncomfortably fast, especially in America. Even in the euro area, used to tepid inflation, prices in August were 3% higher than a year earlier, the most in a decade. Economies are troubled by shortages of parts and labour, slow and expensive shipping and the bewildering variation of lockdown measures. The spread of the Delta variant is to blame, but the way the pandemic is affecting the economy is shifting. The world had become accustomed to the virus battering growth, as waves of infection caused a sudden stop in activity, and prices moderated or even fell. Delta, by contrast, looks like a stagflationary force…

3 min
china’s toxic twins

CHINA HAS been trying to clean up its bad corporate debts for years. Although it made some progress before the pandemic, the task often seems interminable, it remains crucial for the country’s long-run economic development—and for the growing ranks of global investors with exposure to Chinese stocks and bonds. The government insists it wants more market discipline and a transparent process for letting firms default without blowing up the financial system. Now these claims are being tested by crises at Huarong, a state-run financial conglomerate, and Evergrande, the country’s largest property firm. Together they have some $540bn of liabilities, which they will struggle to repay (see China section). Their contrasting fates show that China’s approach is still driven by politics and improvisation not market forces and the rule of law. The level…