The Economist Continental Europe Edition November 27, 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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8 min
the world this week

Politics Two months after an election, a deal to form a new German government was unveiled. Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrats will lead a coalition with the Greens and the Free Democrats, a pro-business party. Mr Scholz will succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor in early December. The inclusion of the Greens has put climate change front and centre of the new government’s agenda. It also pledges to build 400,000 flats a year to ease a housing crisis. Stockholm syndrome Magdalena Andersson resigned only hours after becoming Sweden’s first female prime minister. Her brief tenure ended when the Greens quit a new coalition with her Social Democratic Party in a row over the budget. Ms Andersson is expected to regain the job with the support of parties that want to keep the populist…

5 min
adventure capitalism

VLADIMIR LENIN believed that a tiny vanguard could, through force of will, harness historical forces to transform how global capitalism works. He was right. However, the revolutionaries have not been bearded Bolsheviks but a few thousand investors, mostly based in Silicon Valley, running less than 2% of the world’s institutional assets. In the past five decades, the venture-capital (VC) industry has funded enterprising ideas that have gone on to transform global business and the world economy. Seven of the world’s ten largest firms were VC-backed. VC money has financed the companies behind search engines, iPhones, electric cars and mRNA vaccines. Now capitalism’s dream machine is itself being scaled up and transformed, as an unprecedented $450bn of fresh cash floods into the VC scene (see Finance & economics section). This turbocharging of…

3 min
green shift

NO ONE LIKES waiting for a traffic light. But for Germans the wait is over. On November 24th a new ruling coalition was unveiled. Forming it took only two months after an election. (In the Netherlands parties are still haggling after eight.) Nicknamed “traffic light” after the colours of the parties that will make it up, it is a three-way contraption, Germany’s first since the 1950s, with the Social Democrats in the lead backed up by the Greens and the Free Democrats. But whether the incoming chancellor, Olaf Scholz, will offer dynamic leadership, rather than more of Germany’s recent drift, is hard to say. We choose to be optimistic. The entry into the government of the world’s fourth-largest economy by the mainly pragmatic Greens is good news at a time of…

4 min
march of the midsized menaces

TALK ABOUT geopolitics and people think of great-power rivalry: America v the Soviet Union or, more recently, China. Fair enough. Great powers are, as the name suggests, important. But as America retreats from its role as globocop, it has opened space for medium-sized powers to become more assertive. Turkey has occupied a chunk of Syria, sent troops to Libya, helped Azerbaijan vanquish Armenia and dispatched its navy in support of dubious claims to Mediterranean waters. Iran backs militias that prop up Syria’s despot, have a chokehold on Lebanon and were accused this month of trying to murder Iraq’s prime minister with an explosives-laden drone. Pakistan helped a group of misogynistic jihadists take over Afghanistan. Belarus hijacked a plane and has been giving migrants bolt-cutters and ordering them to cut through Poland’s…

4 min
winter wave

OVER THE next few years covid-19 will probably settle down as a seasonal disease, a lethal threat to the elderly and the poor in health, but to everyone else mostly a nuisance. However, as Europe is discovering, getting there will be perilous. The European Union is recording nearly a quarter of a million cases a day, more than at any time in the pandemic. Eleven months after vaccination first got under way, intensive-care wards in some regions are almost full. The World Health Organisation warned this week that 700,000 more Europeans could die by March. Amid growing alarm, governments are once again locking down. Austria has become the first rich country to demand that all of its citizens must be vaccinated or face a fine; Germany may follow. Demonstrators are taking…

3 min
heir today, gone tomorrow?

THE INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS is the grand old party of the world’s biggest democracy. Its president is Sonia Gandhi, the 74-year-old widow of Rajiv Gandhi, a former prime minister who was also the son and grandson of prime ministers. Its de facto leader is Rahul Gandhi, Rajiv’s and Sonia’s 51-year-old son. Priyanka Gandhi, their 49-year-old daughter, is a general secretary. Somebody named Gandhi has run the party for all but six of the past 43 years. Small wonder the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) calls Congress nepotistic. It also calls it corrupt and feudal, and this resonates with voters. The BJP, by contrast, presents itself as meritocratic, modern and welcoming to all comers (as long as they are Hindu nationalists). Narendra Modi, the prime minister, constantly reminds his compatriots that he…