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The Economist Asia EditionThe Economist Asia Edition

The Economist Asia Edition August 24, 2019

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.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
The Economist Newspaper Limited - Asia Pacific
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51 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

access_time8 min.
the world this week

Politics Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s prime minister, resigned after Matteo Salvini, the leader of the Northern League party, withdrew his support for the coalition government. The coalition’s other party, the Five Star Movement, must now try to form a new government. If that fails, Italy may face a general election. An Italian prosecutor ordered a ship carrying around 80 illegal migrants to dock after some of the passengers jumped into the sea. The ship, operated by a Spanish charity, had been held off the Italian coast for three weeks because Mr Salvini, who is also Italy’s interior minister, refused it entry to a port. International radiation monitors confirmed they had detected a recent accident near the Russian port of Arkhangelsk, believed to involve a nuclear-powered cruise missile. Separately, and despite worries about safety, Russia…

access_time6 min.
what companies are for

ACROSS THE West, capitalism is not working as well as it should. Jobs are plentiful, but growth is sluggish, inequality is too high and the environment is suffering. You might hope that governments would enact reforms to deal with this, but politics in many places is gridlocked or unstable. Who, then, is going to ride to the rescue? A growing number of people think the answer is to call on big business to help fix economic and social problems. Even America’s famously ruthless bosses agree. This week more than 180 of them, including the chiefs of Walmart and JPMorgan Chase, overturned three decades of orthodoxy to pledge that their firms’ purpose was no longer to serve their owners alone, but customers, staff, suppliers and communities, too. The CEOs’ motives are partly…

access_time4 min.
betting on black

IN THE DENSE gloom about climate change, news of coal’s decline seems like a pinprick of hope. President Donald Trump may adore “beautiful, clean coal”, but even he cannot save it. A growing number of countries want to phase out coal entirely, a transition eased by cheap natural gas and the plunging cost of wind and solar power. That is good news. Coal has been the largest engine of climate change to date, accounting for nearly a third of the rise in average temperatures since the Industrial Revolution. Any pressure on it therefore counts as progress. However, last year coal-fired electricity emitted more than ten gigatonnes of carbon dioxide for the first time, 30% of the world’s total. It may be in decline in the West, but many Asian governments continue to…

access_time3 min.
time to govern, not campaign

THE REMARKABLE thing about the fall of the Italian government this week was that it did not happen sooner. Parties that depict themselves as outsiders, such as the Northern League and the Five Star Movement (M5S), typically find their first stint in office a fiasco. A coalition of two such outfits, one a hard-right nativist group and the other an eclectic set of economic populists, greens and internet utopians, was bound to come unglued. Moreover, whereas the M5S finished first in last year’s election, the League has since far surpassed it, polling at 37% to the M5S’s 17%. The League’s leader, Matteo Salvini, has proved more astute than the M5S’s Luigi di Maio. It is not surprising that he pulled his support from Giuseppe Conte, the prime minister, in a…

access_time3 min.
cathay’s mayday

AS THE TRADE war chips away at its allure, China wants to retain the affection of foreign businesses. It has promised to level the playing field between them and their domestic rivals. This pledge is meant as reassurance that Chinese firms will receive no special favours. But it has taken on a different light over the past week, in the wake of China’s assault on Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flagship airline. China is taking a hard line against foreign companies that displease it, lashing out at their bosses and demanding obedience, much as it wields control over domestic enterprises. Firms in Hong Kong are in the cross-hairs, but it would be a mistake to think China will stop there. With 26,000 employees in Hong Kong, Cathay initially took a neutral stance…

access_time3 min.
take aim

ON AUGUST 19TH the Bundesbank warned that Germany could soon be in recession. The economy shrank in the second quarter of the year; two consecutive quarterly contractions are often taken to define a downturn. In June industrial production was 5.2% lower than a year earlier, the biggest fall in a decade. Some investors hope that the run of bad news will persuade Germany to overcome its deep-rooted suspicion of fiscal stimulus. Sure enough, a day before the central bank’s warning, Olaf Scholz, the finance minister, said the government could afford a hit to its finances of €50bn ($56bn)—about 1.4% of GDP. Unfortunately Mr Scholz has shown little desire to use that money now. Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she sees no need. That is lamentable. The case for using fiscal stimulus…

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