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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 10/20/2018

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.

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The Economist Newspaper Limited - Europe
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8 min.
the world this week

Politics A murky outlook America’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, travelled to Saudi Arabia, where he met King Salman and his son, Muhammad bin Salman, the crown prince. Prince Muhammad is under scrutiny after the death of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say the journalist was murdered by a team of Saudis, many of whom have ties to the crown prince. Mr Pompeo, who also visited Turkey, said the Saudis promised to hold accountable anyone involved in wrongdoing. Israeli jets struck 20 targets in the Gaza Strip after a house in southern Israel was hit by a rocket fired from the territory, which is controlled by Hamas, an Islamist group. Earlier Israel killed seven Palestinians, some of whom were trying to cross the border fence, amid protests on…

5 min.
china v america

FOR THE past quarter century America’s approach to China has been founded on a belief in convergence. Political and economic integration would not just make China wealthier, they would also make it more liberal, pluralistic and democratic. There were crises, such as a face-off in the Taiwan Strait in 1996 or the downing of a spy-plane in 2001. But America cleaved to the conviction that, with the right incentives, China would eventually join the world order as a “responsible stakeholder”. Today convergence is dead. America has come to see China as a strategic rival—a malevolent actor and a rule-breaker (see Briefing). The Trump administration accuses it of interfering in America’s culture and politics, of stealing intellectual property and trading unfairly, and of seeking not just leadership in Asia, but also global…

3 min.
not so grand

YOU MIGHT think that losing over ten percentage points off your vote was a calamity. But the drubbing meted out by the voters of Bavaria to Germany’s Christian Social Union (CSU) on October 14th, which saw it lose its majority after ruling Germany’s largest state single-handedly for all but five of the past 52 years, turns out to have been only the second-nastiest beating administered that day. The Social Democrats (SPD) were battered into fifth place, lost half their support and now seem to have entered terminal decline. That is a consequence, most analysts agree, of deciding in March to enter into a second “grand coalition” (GroKo, in its German nickname), with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU). There is a chance that the collapse of Mrs Merkel’s government is only…

4 min.
against pessimism

SO MANY OF America’s troubles are intractable. Hyper-partisanship and the culture wars can make reducing gun violence or obesity seem hopeless. But mass incarceration is different. There is ample evidence that America’s states can lock fewer people up and still preserve public safety. Just look at Minnesota, which bangs up people at half the rate of neighbouring Wisconsin, though the crime rate in both places is about the same (see United States section). In a few weeks’ time voters in Wisconsin and in other states will be asked to choose whether they wish to keep putting so many people inside or try something else. They should vote for change. America is violent, so it naturally makes more use of prison than many other countries do. But that cannot explain how it…

3 min.
beyond boom and bust?

THE HISTORY of America’s shale industry is brief and dramatic. In just a decade the country has seen the spread of innovative techniques to extract oil and gas locked inside shale rock; the lifting of a decades-long ban on crude exports; a price crash that seemed to decimate the industry—and now a price recovery. Next year the shale boom will account for the biggest surge in one country’s oil output since the International Energy Agency began keeping track. America is now the world’s top oil producer, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia. America’s strides are all the more striking because they coincide with wobbles elsewhere. Output from many giant petro-states looks shaky at best. Exports from Iran are plummeting and due to sink further when American sanctions take effect next month. Venezuela’s…

3 min.
captain sensible

READERS OF The Economist are easily roused by debates over unconventional monetary policy, the merits of fiscal stimulus and innovative structural reforms. (Don’t deny it.) Other areas of economic policy may lack the same thrilling sense of excitement, but dullness is not the same as irrelevance. There are large gains to be had by doing drab things a little bit better. Take three examples: maintenance, management of state assets and public-sector accounting. Raising money for repairs is harder than finding the cash for flashy new projects that you can stick your name on. In recent decades America has built many useless new roads, yet the fraction of existing road surfaces that are too bumpy has risen from 10% in 1997 to 21% today. Potholes gradually damage vehicles that drive over them.…