The Economist Latin America October 2, 2021

THE ECONOMIST is a global weekly magazine written for those who share an uncommon interest in being well and broadly informed. Each issue explores the close links between domestic and international issues, business, politics, finance, current affairs, science, technology and the arts. In addition to regular weekly content, Special Reports are published approximately 20 times a year, spotlighting a specific country, industry, or hot-button topic. The Technology Quarterly, published 4 times a year, highlights and analyzes new technologies that will change the world we live in.

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51 Números

en este número

8 min.
the world this week

Politics After Germany’s general election the Social Democrats (SPD) emerged as the largest party, overtaking the Christian Democrats and their Bavarian allies who currently lead the ruling “grand coalition”. But forming a new government will probably take many weeks, as it will almost certainly involve a three-party coalition. Olaf Scholz, the SPD’s candidate for chancellor, is the most probable successor to Angela Merkel, at the head of a “traffic-light” coalition including the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats, though this is by no means guaranteed. Armin Laschet, who led the Christian Democrats to their worst-ever defeat, is facing pressure to resign, but insists he still has a chance to construct his own coalition. Iceland fell short of having Europe’s first parliament where women hold most of the seats, following a recount after…

5 min.
china’s new reality

XI JINPING IS waging a campaign to purge China of capitalist excesses. China’s president sees surging debt as the poisonous fruit of financial speculation and billionaires as a mockery of Marxism. Businesses must heed state guidance. The party must permeate every area of national life. Whether Mr Xi can impose his new reality will shape China’s future, as well as the ideological battle between democracy and dictatorship. His campaign is remarkable for its scope and ambition. It started to rumble in 2020, when officials blocked the initial public offering of Ant Group, an affiliate of Alibaba, a tech giant. It is thundering onward, having so far destroyed perhaps $2trn of wealth. Didi, a ride-hailing outfit, has been punished for listing its shares in America. Evergrande, an indebted property developer, is being…

5 min.
from big bang to a whimper

ASK BRITONS what actually goes on in the City of London and you’ll be met with a blank stare. Trading the yen and the yuan, structuring derivatives and providing the world’s financial plumbing are all money-spinners, but they barely register in the public imagination. The exception is the stockmarket. Daily news bulletins report trading on the FTSE 100 index of leading London shares. Booms and busts are charted by its gyrations. The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is the stamping-ground of giant multinationals, where city-slickers and corporate fat-cats thrash out huge deals to buy and sell the world’s companies. Or at least it used to be. London’s high-flying stockmarket has spent the past decade tumbling back to earth. In 2006 the companies with shares listed in London were worth 10.4% of the…

3 min.

“WE AVOIDED THE worst-case scenario,” ran one hashtag trending on Twitter after the election on September 29th of Kishida Fumio as president of Japan’s ruling party. For the right-wingers promoting the slogan, the “worst case” was Kono Taro, a popular and independent-minded minister who won the most votes in the first round of the election. They see him as too liberal to lead the inaptly named Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). But Japanese liberals were relieved, too. For them, the worst case was Takaichi Sanae, a nationalist firebrand. The trait that propelled Mr Kishida to victory appears to be his inoffensiveness. His victory was engineered by a party establishment that cherishes the status quo. He is unlikely to rock the boat—and just as unlikely to make waves (see Asia section). Indeed, the status…

3 min.
she who must not be named

“BODIES WITH vaginas” is an odd way to refer to half the human race. Yet it was the quote that the Lancet, a medical journal, chose to feature on the cover of its latest issue, telling readers that “historically, the anatomy and physiology” of such bodies had been neglected. After complaints about dehumanising language, the Lancet apologised. But it is not alone. A growing number of officials and organisations are finding themselves tongue-tied when it comes to using the word “woman”. A British hospital has instructed staff on its maternity wards to offer to use the phrase “birthing people”. Alexandra Ocasio­Cortez, a member of America’s Congress, talks of “menstruating people”. On September 18th the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) republished a quote from Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Supreme Court judge, on…

4 min.
ways and means

AS GOVERNMENTS SPEND more, it becomes increasingly important that they design their taxes carefully. Large European welfare states such as Sweden or Germany rely on growthfriendly value-added taxes (VATs) to help raise the vast quantities of cash they dole out. America can get away with a tax system that is grossly inefficient and needlessly complex only because the amount of revenue it raises overall is relatively small. Small, but growing. Democrats in the House of Representatives are working out how to pay for President Joe Biden’s proposed social-spending bill, under which America would take a step in the direction of Europe with cash handouts for parents, child-care subsidies, green investment and more money for health care. The bill will probably be watered down in the Senate, but its present size is…