Author Archive: Economist

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The insecurity of freelance work

The insecurity of freelance work

THE decline of the conventional job has been much heralded in recent years. It is now nearly axiomatic that people will work for a range of employers in a variety of roles over their lifetimes, with a much more flexible schedule than in the past. Opinion is still divided over whether this change is a […]

June 14, 2018 | By | Reply More
Trends in extortion payments by companies to Italy’s Mafia

Trends in extortion payments by companies to Italy’s Mafia

THE toll of “pizzo” protection payments made by firms to Sicily’s Mafia is closely monitored. Nearly half pay up these days, according to estimates from the Confartigianato, a national business association—a big improvement from the early 1990s, when at least four-fifths of Sicilian firms paid it. Back then the levy claimed nearly a tenth of […]

June 14, 2018 | By | Reply More
The murky future of two Latin American oil giants

The murky future of two Latin American oil giants

IT SEEMED like such a comeback. When Pedro Parente took over as boss of Petrobras in 2016, Brazil’s state oil firm was drowning in $130bn of debt. It had lost $200bn in shareholder value, and its executive board had been gutted by the massive Lava Jato corruption scandal. Mr Parente slashed subsidies, sold assets and […]

June 14, 2018 | By | Reply More
Google runs into more flak on artificial intelligence

Google runs into more flak on artificial intelligence

DISCOVERING and harnessing fire unlocked more nutrition from food, feeding the bigger brains and bodies that are the hallmarks of modern humans. Google’s chief executive, Sundar Pichai, thinks his company’s development of artificial intelligence trumps that. “AI is one of the most important things that humanity is working on,” he told an event in California […]

June 14, 2018 | By | Reply More
How open is America?

How open is America?

“JUSTIN has agreed to cut all tariffs and all trade barriers between Canada and the United States,” claimed President Donald Trump to laughter on June 8th, at the G7 summit in Quebec. The next day, in apparent seriousness, Mr Trump—who has slapped tariffs and quotas on imports of aluminium and steel from all the G7 […]

June 14, 2018 | By | Reply More
China’s tighter regulation of shadow banks begins to bite

China’s tighter regulation of shadow banks begins to bite

THE teller at ICBC, China’s (and the world’s) biggest bank, ushers a new, well-heeled customer into a private room. It is not for VIP treatment but a stern warning. The customer wants to invest in products offering higher returns than a basic savings account. The teller fixes a camera on her and reels off a […]

June 14, 2018 | By | Reply More
Can the solar industry survive without subsidies?

Can the solar industry survive without subsidies?

A LITTLE over a decade ago, when JinkoSolar, a Shanghai-based company, entered the solar business, it was such a novice that when it visited international trade fairs, all it had was a bare table and a board with its name scribbled on it. But it also had luck, a technological edge and lots of public […]

June 14, 2018 | By | Reply More
Other American banks may have misbehaved as Wells Fargo did. Which ones?

Other American banks may have misbehaved as Wells Fargo did. Which ones?

IF THERE is a single example of how dramatically the regulatory environment has changed for American banks in the past 18 months, it may be the trickle of information that has recently emerged about an inquiry into their sales practices. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a banking watchdog, began it in […]

June 14, 2018 | By | Reply More
Donald Trump lobs a grenade from afar into the G7

Donald Trump lobs a grenade from afar into the G7

FOR a moment, the Group of Seven (G7) leaders attending their annual summit, in a mountain village in Quebec, looked like they had managed to paper over their differences with President Donald Trump and present a united front. They found just the right wording to secure American agreement on matters that never used to be […]

June 10, 2018 | By | Reply More
People going on stag and hen dos are disrupting flights too often

People going on stag and hen dos are disrupting flights too often

NOTE to travellers headed to a stag do: the festivities begin at your destination, not on the plane that is taking you there. This might seem obvious, but many revellers appear unsure. Last week, an easyJet flight from Bristol to Prague was delayed and ultimately cancelled after a group of stags got their celebration off to an […]

June 8, 2018 | By | Reply More