Free exchangeJohn Williamson, who defined the “Washington consensus”, died on April 11thHis brainchild became caricatured. But it had never been a manifestoIT WAS IN January 1947, with a song thrush, that John Williamson began the list he kept of the birds he had seen, which would go on to number some...
ButtonwoodThe appeal of emerging-market dollar bondsFor a start, the alternatives are hardly compellingTHE HUNT for bonds that pay more interest to retirees and others requiring a fixed income has taken institutional investors to some exotic places in recent years. Last month they alighted on Ghana, which issued $3bn-worth of Eurobonds, as...
Hand over fistProfits at America’s banks are sky-highIt helps that the economy is on the up, and markets are soaringTHE GOOD old days seem to be returning to America. Now that nearly 200m vaccine doses have been administered, people are gathering in bars, restaurants and shops. The days are warmer and...
The devil in the data seriesIs growth in China soaring or slowing?The answer depends on how you calculate growthTHE HEADLINES will write themselves. When China reports its GDP for the first three months of the year on April 16th (after The Economist goes to press), growth is expected to have soared...
Don’t be fooled by randomnessThe method in Microsoft’s merger madnessMaking sense of the software giant’s acquisitive streakTAKE OUR cash, or at least our shares. That appears to be Microsoft’s mantra these days. After failing to acquire the American operations of TikTok, a short-video app, last year, the software giant was recently...
SchumpeterCan South-East Asian tech’s hot streak last?Foreign investors cannot get enough of Sea, Grab, Gojek and other regional unicornsWHEN UBER came to South-East Asia, the Silicon Valley ride-hailing giant coaxed customers into cabs with free ice cream, a tactic it had deployed in Western markets. Grab, a local rival based in...
Skin deepA new boss at L’Oréal will have to prove he is worth itWhat will beauty habits look like after the pandemic?ACCORDING TO INDUSTRY lore, lipstick sales increase in recessions as women opt for affordable indulgences. This time it has been firms peddling masks and video-conferencing software that have prospered. But...
BartlebyLife after the C-suiteThe adjustment process can be painfulTHERE COMES a time when even the most glittering career must come to an end. Choosing the right moment to retire is difficult enough, but many people also struggle to imagine what they could possibly do next. In their new book, “Changing Gear”,...
Pricing in pricing outAmerican inflation shoots up to 2.6%A data quirk and a reheating economy push up the consumer-price indexIN THE SPRING of 2020 American consumer prices fell for three consecutive months as the pandemic struck. Rents collapsed; hotel rooms went empty and oil prices turned negative. All sudden spurts of...
Losing the warThe war against money-laundering is being lostThe global system for financial crime is hugely expensive and largely ineffectiveYET ANOTHER bank is preparing to face the music over alleged failings in its efforts to curb flows of dirty money. In the coming weeks NatWest, one of Britain’s largest lenders, is...
Squaring the coinCoinbase’s listing may break recordsBut the success of the cryptoexchange is not guaranteedTHE NEXT big listing on Wall Street will be a disappointment—at least for cryptocurrency purists. When Coinbase, a marketplace for such digital monies, starts trading on April 14th, it will be on a boring, conventional stock exchange,...
SchumpeterBrace for the Amazon effect on live sportThe last redoubt of the pay-TV bundle is under siegeIN 1993 FOX, a nascent cable network owned by Rupert Murdoch, an Australian-born tycoon, paid a fortune to scoop the rights to National Football League (NFL) games from under the nose of CBS, a veteran...
ReformulatedPfizer’s boss thinks covid-19 is reshaping Big Pharma for the betterThe industry is becoming nimbler and more innovative“THE IMPOSSIBLE can many times become possible,” reflects Albert Bourla, boss of Pfizer. He is talking about the giant American drugmaker’s speedy development (with BioNTech of Germany) of a vaccine against covid-19. The sentiment...
Seize and insistCairn Energy takes on India’s governmentA Scottish firm threatens to seize overseas assets of state-controlled Indian firmsFACED WITH recalcitrant sovereign counterparties, foreign investors and companies occasionally take drastic action. A picaresque example of the genre occurred in 2012, when Elliott Management, a buccaneering American hedge fund which held distressed...
BartlebyA leaked memo from a chief impact officerThe newest addition to the C-suite talks climate change and hot tubsDEAR COLLEAGUES,This is my first memo as the newly appointed chief impact officer at Global United Financial Firms (GUFF) and I would like to thank everyone for welcoming me to the group. Some...
Hype clubClubhouse may fade. Group voice chat is here to stayWhat Silicon Valley’s latest hype cycle says about the future of social mediaONE OF SILICON VALLEY’S most successful inventions is hype. It usually disappoints. In 2015 live-streaming from smartphones became all the rage. But Meerkat, an app which pioneered it, shut...
Free exchangeIn poor countries, statistics are both undersupplied and underusedGovernments often lack incentives to collect, share and use dataIN THE RICH world, people worry that prying governments know too much about them. Popular culture valorises characters who go off the grid, like Jack Reacher (the hero of 25 novels by Lee...
ObituaryRobert Mundell, an influential international economist, has diedHe was considered the intellectual father of the euroAFTER ACCEPTING the Nobel prize in economics in 1999, Robert Mundell crooned “My Way”, the song by Frank Sinatra, to guests at the banquet. His way, as he put it, involved falling in love with economic...
A new tackAs China’s stockmarket corrects, regulators try doing lessSo far, they have avoided heavy-handed interventionTHE JOB of China’s top securities cop is a precarious one. Its fortunes are closely linked with the vagaries of the country’s stockmarket. A crash can mean the sack or worse for the man in charge....
The dirty truthTotting up bitcoin’s environmental costsWithout regulation, mining in China could consume as much energy as Italy by 2024AS COINBASE’S IPO shows, cryptocurrencies have many fans. But they have detractors, too. Environmentalists, in particular, fret about how much energy bitcoin uses. In a paper in Nature Communications, a group of...

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