The Economist Asia Edition November 13, 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.

United Kingdom
The Economist Newspaper Limited - Asia Pacific
51 期号


the world this week

Politics As delegates haggled over the final drafts at the un cop26 climate-change summit in Glasgow, America and China issued a joint declaration to work together to reduce emissions. The two countries said they were committed to keeping the increase in Earth’s mean surface temperature to “well below” 2o C compared with pre-industrial levels. China said it would come up with a national plan to curb methane emissions. Time will tell whether their statement was diplomatic showboating or the start of something more substantive. Belarus kept dumping migrants at the border with Poland and barring them at gunpoint from retreating. It has been luring them onto flights from the Middle East with false promises of easy passage to the European Union. The migrants cannot enter Poland, and with winter coming, may soon…

putin’s new era of repression

ANDREI SAKHAROV, a Soviet dissident and physicist, used to argue that repression at home invariably becomes instability abroad. His own life was evidence of it. His internal exile was lifted in 1986 by Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union’s last leader, who as the architect of glasnost released political prisoners and tolerated free speech. It was no accident that Mr Gorbachev’s rejection of repression coincided with the end of the cold war. Today Sakharov’s thesis is being demonstrated once again—in reverse. According to Memorial, a human-rights group, Russia has more than twice as many political prisoners than at the end of the Soviet era. Memorial, which Sakharov helped set up to document Soviet abuses, has itself been branded a “foreign agent” and attacked by state-sponsored thugs (see Briefing). At the same time, Russia’s…

a final choice

IN1995 AUSTRALIA’S Northern Territory enacted the world’s first law explicitly allowing assisted dying. It said that terminally ill, mentally competent adults who wanted to die could ask a doctor for help, using lethal drugs. The law sparked outrage. Within months the federal government had overturned it. Yet today five of Australia’s six states have assisted-dying laws. The Economist first made the case for assisted dying in 2015. We argued that freedom should include the right to choose the manner and timing of one’s own death, while also cautioning that the practice should be carefully monitored and regulated to avoid abuses. Since then, it has become more widely available. Assisted dying is now legal in one form or another in a dozen countries, and the trend seems likely to continue. Last week…

china’s other debt problem

SCARES ABOUT toxic debt are an ever-present feature of China’s economy. The latest involves Evergrande, a troubled developer that threatens to cripple the property sector. The firm also has tentacles that reach into the darkest corners of the Chinese financial system, wrapping around banks and shadow lenders. Yet even as Evergrande catches the eye, another risk is emerging: crony capitalism at smaller banks. A government crackdown on leverage in property has pushed Evergrande to the brink of collapse. Other large developers are weighed down by $5trn of debts. Speculation is swirling that one of them, Kaisa, is also struggling to make payments (it has asked investors for “time and patience”). The turmoil may intensify as more debts come due. According to Nomura, a Japanese bank, the property industry must repay $20bn…

war, drought, famine

ON NOVEMBER 8TH the World Food Programme (WFP), a UN agency, said that its estimate of people “teetering on the edge of famine” worldwide had risen from 42m earlier this year to 45m. Remarkably, just one country accounts for almost all those 3m additional people. Afghanistan is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. Some 23m Afghans, in a country of 38m, face acute hunger. Of those, 8.7m are in a state of emergency, the second-highest category in the WFP’s hierarchy of calamity. The classification manual explains that by the time the agency declares a famine, the highest category, it will be too late to avert the worst consequences “because many will have died”. Many are dying already. More than 3m children are malnourished. Locals report cases of entire families starving to…

the discreet charm of nuclear power

IN THE NEGOTIATIONS which led up to the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, Saudi Arabia spent a great deal of time attempting to insert the term “environmentally safe and sound” in front of references to “energy sources” and “energy supplies”. Given that the oil Saudi Arabia exports in greater quantities than any other country is now understood to be anything but environmentally safe, this seems bizarre. At the time, though, the aim was obvious to all concerned: the phrase was a way to keep nuclear power off the Rio agenda. The oil shocks of the 1970s had led to many countries increasing their nuclear efforts. In the ten years to 1992 the amount of nuclear energy consumed worldwide had increased by 130%. What was more, some talked of using nuclear plants…