Business & Finance
The Economist

The Economist

October 31, 2020

Get The Economist digital magazine subscription today and explore domestic and international issues, business, finance, current affairs, science, technology and the arts.

United States
The Economist Newspaper Limited
Read More
51 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
coronavirus briefs

America hit 83,000 new daily infections on two consecutive days, the highest numbers since the pandemic began. Russia broke records for both the daily number of cases and deaths in the country. Some 27,000 people have officially died in total, though the true figure may be much higher. Iran said it would extend the closure of schools, mosques, shops, restaurants and other public institutions in Tehran until November 20th. State television reported that a person was dying from the virus every four minutes. Taiwan went 200 days without any locally transmitted cases. It has had just seven deaths. Melbourne came out of a lengthy strict lockdown, which has been credited with suppressing the spread of the disease in the Australian city. Its 5m residents had been largely confined to home. For our latest coverage of…

7 min.
the world this week

Politics The second wave of covid-19 worsened across Europe, leading a number of countries to impose stricter measures. A second national lockdown was announced in France; Emmanuel Macron, the president, said the country had been “overwhelmed” by the spread of the virus. In Germany restaurants, cafés and bars were ordered to close during November. Spain announced a new state of emergency, and much of Italy has introduced curfews. A study in England suggests that 100,000 people are catching the disease there every day. A suspected Islamist killed three people at a church in Nice, virtually beheading one of his victims. He was shot, injured and arrested by French police. On the same day police shot dead a man near Avignon who had threatened passersby with a gun. The attacks came soon after…

4 min.
the zombification of britain

IMAGINE IF, 20 YEARS ago, the British government had vowed to protect every job in the country. Today an extra 30,000 Britons would be working as high-street travel agents, 30,000 or so would earn their crust by repairing fax machines, and 40,000 would still be stacking shelves and ringing the tills in Wool-worths, a chain of stores that went bust in 2009. Allowing obsolete jobs to wither and new ones to blossom is one of the main ways in which capitalist economies get richer and more productive. Governments interfere with this process of creative destruction at their peril. That is why the direction that Britain is taking in its efforts to mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic is so mistaken. Since March Britain has been shielding workers and their families from…

4 min.
the long farewell

EUROPE’S MOST important election next year will take place in Germany. So will the runner-up. In the autumn of 2021 Germans will elect a new government, and Angela Merkel has promised that she will step down after 16 years as chancellor. Before that, though, Mrs Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) must choose a new leader—and the winner of that vote will be in pole position to succeed her in the chancellery. The CDU’s internal election is therefore crucial for Germany, and beyond. And yet the party is making a monumental hash of it. The immediate cause is covid-19. The pandemic scuppered the CDU’s first attempt to elect its leader, in April. This week the party scrapped a second party congress, planned for December 4th. Despite a detailed health protocol, including…

5 min.

Indonesia’s politics It is said that Javanese dynasties rarely last 100 years. This must have been on the mind of President Joko Widodo, or Jokowi, when, as Banyan described, he pandered to the country’s elite to form a grand coalition to govern an unruly country (October 17th). In such a fractured country as Indonesia, leaders must contend with entrenched power bases, then cultivate patronage networks of their own if they are to govern at all. Aspiring reformers who do not play by these rules risk following in the footsteps of Abdurrahman Wahid, toppled as president by a hostile parliament, or of Jokowi’s erstwhile ally, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (“Ahok”), jailed under a dubious and politically charged sentence for blasphemy. Disgraced reformers are hardly useful to their constituents. Courting the opposition allowed Jokowi to…

12 min.
realism and the wrecking ball

FOREIGN AFFAIRS played an important, and murky, role in Donald Trump’s presidency from before it even began. Russia’s meddling in the election that brought his unexpected victory, and Mr Trump’s happiness in snubbing the findings of his own intelligence services on the subject, set an invidious context for all that followed. His later attempt to inveigle political favours from Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, led to his becoming the first president ever to be impeached over his conduct of foreign policy. Only Republican support in the Senate saved him from losing office. Such things do not go unnoticed. America’s reputation abroad has plunged during Mr Trump’s presidency. Around the world, judging by a 13-country survey published in September by Pew Research Centre, the share of people with a favourable view…