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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 07/14/2018

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 - Europe
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8 min.
the world this week

Politics Theresa May, Britain’s prime minister, hoped that a deal struck at a cabinet summit would enable her to take an acceptable proposal to Brussels for leaving the European Union. The deal split hardline and more pragmatic Brexiteers. Two cabinet ministers resigned in protest: Boris Johnson (above), the foreign secretary, and David Davis, the Brexit secretary. Mrs May defended the proposals, taking aim at potential challengers by saying “to lead is to decide”. The resignations forced Mrs May into a hasty cabinet reshuffle. Jeremy Hunt is the new foreign secretary. Dominic Raab will lead negotiations with the EU as the new Brexit secretary. He holds a black belt in karate. One of the two people recently exposed to the Novichok nerve agent in Britain died in hospital, prompting police to launch a murder…

5 min.
just another week in british politics

A REALLY sensible government would have drawn up a plan for how to leave the European Union before calling a referendum on whether to do so. A sane one would have devised a strategy before triggering exit negotiations. Britain, by contrast, announced its departure plan on July 6th, when three-quarters of the time it has for talking to Brussels had already been used up. And even then the long-overdue reckoning with reality sent the government reeling. Two cabinet ministers and two Conservative Party vice-chairmen have quit; the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, said in his resignation letter that the Brexit “dream is dying”. Those abandoning ship are furious that Theresa May has dropped a hard separation from the EU for a softer deal, preserving many legal and economic ties. For now, the…

3 min.
jihad’s new base

THERE has been no “Mission Accomplished” moment celebrating the defeat of Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq. But the American and other allied troops who helped crush IS are quietly heading home, and their generals are packing away their counter-insurgency field manuals. They deserve credit for a job bravely done. However, IS’s brutal ideology is not dead. A form of it is taking root in and around the Sahel. Even at the best of times this arid, sparsely populated belt of land that runs along the southern fringe of the Sahara desert is poor and badly governed. Some countries broadly along this belt, such as Somalia or the Central African Republic, have not seen peace for decades. In the past few years the sparks of jihad have been struck in…

3 min.
back to basic liberalism

IN THE mythologies of both left and right, the welfare state is a work of socialism. Yet the intellectual tradition it owes most to is liberalism. The architect of its British version, William Beveridge, did not want to use the power of the state for its own sake. The point was to give people the security to pursue the lives they chose. And liberal reformers believed that by insuring people against some risks of creative destruction, welfare states would bolster democratic support for free markets. In the decades since Beveridge published his seminal report in 1942, welfare states have spread, grown larger, more complex and, often, less popular (see International section). This shift has many causes. But one is that welfare states have often diverged from the liberal principles that underpinned…

3 min.
light-bulb moment

ELECTRICITY powers growth, boosts education and improves lives. Yet about 1.1bn mostly rural dwellers in Asia and Africa remain stuck in the dark. They have no electric light, rely on kerosene and diesel for power, and struggle to irrigate their crops. The good news is that people can be connected to clean, reliable power faster than ever before. But to realise the potential, governments need to rethink the role of utilities. Typically, countries connect citizens with vast grid-extension programmes. Big grids make perfect sense for populous places. They can cheaply supply power generated far away to millions and, as they incorporate more wind and solar energy, they are becoming greener. But in remote places, the economic case for grids becomes hard to make. Many utilities are short of cash, if not bankrupt.…

5 min.
american democracy’s built-in bias

EVERY system for converting votes into power has its flaws. Britain suffers from an over-mighty executive; Italy from chronically weak government; Israel from small, domineering factions. America, however, is plagued by the only democratic vice more troubling than the tyranny of the majority: tyranny of the minority. This has come about because of a growing division between rural and urban voters. The electoral system the Founders devised, and which their successors elaborated, gives rural voters more clout than urban ones. When the parties stood for both city and country that bias affected them both. But the Republican Party has become disproportionately rural and the Democratic Party disproportionately urban. That means a red vote is worth more than a blue one. The X factor The consequences are dramatic. Republicans hold both the houses of…