[Free exchange]Strikes are neither a bad omen nor entirely unwelcomeTHE DISSONANCE could hardly have been more apparent. America’s most recent employment figures captured a jobs market in fine fettle: firms added 128,000 new workers in October, while unemployment held near historically low levels and wages rose at a respectable clip. The...
[First across the tape]The leaders of China, India and Saudi Arabia all pay it attentionA CLOTHING WORKSHOP, with just two sewing machines, established long ago on the outskirts of Lima, Peru’s capital city, may be one of the world’s most influential companies, even though it never started operating—and was never...
[Autonomous ways]The path to a world of self-driving remains long and windingTHE SELF-DRIVING cars that cruise around South Ronghua Road look just like their American counterparts: chunky sedans with a rack of sensors bolted to the roof and a supercomputer in the boot. Beijing’s government has dubbed this south-eastern patch of...
Froth or fundamentals?What explains investors’ enthusiasm for risky assets?There may be more sense to recent market movements than you thinkEVEN IN NORMAL times, there is an element of drama to the markets. The oil price may spike or slump in reaction to a geopolitical wobble; bond yields may leap on strong...
Joining the frayFirst-time investors are flooding Brazil’s stockmarketBut fiscal uncertainty threatens the boom“MY PARENTS NEVER talked about investing,” says Arthur Lira, a university student from Olinda, a city in Brazil’s poor north-east. In March, after hearing on YouTube that it was a good time to buy stocks, he set up an...
Free exchangeWhy trade imbalances are a worry during a global downturnMonetary policy begins to look more like a zero-sum gameLIKE OTHER crises before it, covid-19 seems destined to accentuate troublesome features of the world economy. Take global imbalances. Though these were briefly suppressed when the pandemic first struck, they have now...
[Out with the proxies]Not everyone is as pleased as business lobbiesPROXY ADVISORY services used to be an obscure feature of corporate America. No longer. These geeky outfits, which review mountains of proposals put forward by shareholders on topics ranging from mergers and executive pay to climate change and diversity, then issue...
[Diagnosis: opaque]They demand a second opinion“I DON’T KNOW if the hospitals are going to like me too much any more with this,” quipped President Donald Trump on November 15th. He was referring to two bold initiatives unveiled earlier that day by Alex Azar, his health secretary, to rein in America’s soaring...
Hail to the “chiefs”The pandemic is ushering in new C-suite rolesNot all corporate titles will stickWHEN MEETING big new challenges, chief executive officers often resort to a convenient tool: creating fresh executive roles. This helps channel resources to pressing problems and attract talent. It signals to staff and the wider world...
The return of the living dead?Will Japan see a new generation of zombie firms?Lessons from the birthplace of the corporate zombieECONOMISTS USING the term “zombie” used to have Japanese companies in mind. Firms that are dead competitively but continue to haunt their living peers proliferated in the decade or so following...
Blown off courseChina takes aim at its entrepreneursPrivate enterprise faces formidable new obstaclesAT A SUMMIT with China’s richest entrepreneurs in late 2018 Xi Jinping sought to allay concerns that the state had declared war on the country’s private sector. Although officials in Beijing had spent the previous year bringing to heel...

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