Business & Finance
The Economist UK edition

The Economist UK edition

October 17, 2020

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 - UK
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51 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
coronavirus briefs

Iran shattered its single-day record for cases and deaths. The government said masks must be worn outdoors in Tehran. It had previously shut schools, mosques and other public spaces. But contact-tracing has been a challenge and many Iranians are ignoring the state’s restrictions. After the discovery of a dozen coronavirus cases in the Chinese port of Qingdao, city authorities launched an effort to test all of its 9m people in five days. There had been no reports of domestically transmitted infections since early August. The Czech Republic announced that schools, restaurants and bars would shut for three weeks. A national partial lockdown was introduced in the Netherlands. The number of daily cases in India started to climb again. They had fallen to 55,000, the lowest figure since August. For our latest coverage of the…

4 min.
grading trumponomics

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP says Americans should re-elect him because of his record on the economy. Before covid-19, America enjoyed its lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, fast annual wage growth of almost 5% among the lowest-paid workers and a buoyant stockmarket. Mr Trump attributes all this to his three-pronged strategy of tax cuts, deregulation and confrontational trade policy, and says more of the same will revive the economy after the pandemic. Many voters agree. The economy is one issue where Mr Trump does not face a big deficit in the polls. Yet his administration’s economic record from before the pandemic is mixed. It got one thing right: when Mr Trump took office the economy was still in need of stimulus, which tax cuts and more spending helped provide. But that success…

3 min.
a question of sport

ON OCTOBER 9TH World Rugby, the global governing body for rugby union, announced that it would bar transgender women—people born male, but who identify as women—from playing in the international women’s game. The decision drew condemnation from some quarters and praise from others; England’s rugby authorities have already said they will carry on allowing trans women to play at all other levels of the game within England. It puts World Rugby at odds with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), whose rules allow trans women to compete in women’s Olympic events, and with several other sports that have followed the IOC’s guidance. Trans women competitors have enjoyed success in sports including weightlifting, cycling and athletics. Yet World Rugby’s decision to exclude them was the right one. Other sports should follow its…

3 min.
a vision in hindsight

“IF I’M GOING to do a fund it has to be big enough to disrupt the whole technology world.” So declared Son Masayoshi four years ago, on a trip to the Middle East to drum up cash for a new investment vehicle to take on Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists (VCs). His Vision Fund eventually raised $98.6bn and bought stakes in some of the world’s most exciting companies, including ByteDance and Uber. Yet as we explain this week, Mr Son’s mission has so far had mixed results (see Business section). Performance has been soggy, despite a boom in tech stocks, as the strategy of pouring money into private firms has at times become rather like spoiling perpetual adolescents. Instead, the Vision Fund’s most striking legacy may be that it has marked…

5 min.

The rules of the debate Lexington described the Commission on Presidential Debates as “non-partisan” (October 3rd). It is more accurately bi-partisan, run by Democrats and Republicans. The presidential debates used to be organised by a non-partisan group, the League of Women Voters, which in 1976, 1980 and 1984 chose the dates, locations and moderators. In 1980 the league let John Anderson, an independent candidate, participate in the forum. But in 1988 Democrats and Republicans presented a list of demands to take control of the debates. The league’s trustees decided to pull out, because the parties wanted to select the questioners, the composition of the audience, access for the press and other issues. It described the ultimatum as “a fraud on the American voter…it has become clear to us that the candidates’ organisations…

3 min.
marks for effort

FEW BIG British companies have tested investors like Pearson. Over the past seven years the world’s largest educational publisher has issued seven profit warnings. During that time its share price has fallen by more than half. On October 19th it gets a new boss: Andy Bird, a British businessman who spent 14 years running Disney’s international outfit. Mr Bird will have to shore up confidence in the firm even as the pandemic turns education markets upside down. In the 1990s Pearson was a bloated conglomerate that owned theme parks, TV production houses and a chunk of The Economist. It has since flogged these fripperies to focus on learning. But it has been hammered by a collapse in sales of university textbooks in America. In 2010 it sold 21m physical books to…