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Posts Tagged ‘The Economist

The Economist: For richer, for poorer

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Growing inequality is one of the biggest social, economic and political challenges of our time. But it is not inevitable. In 1889, AT the height of America’s first Gilded Age, George Vanderbilt II, grandson of the original railway magnate, set out to build a country estate in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina. He hired the most prominent architect of the time, toured the chateaux of the Loire for inspiration, laid a railway to bring in limestone from Indiana and employed more than 1,000 labourers. Six years later “Biltmore” was completed. With 250 rooms spread over 175,000 square feet (16,000 square metres), the mansion was 300 times bigger than the average dwelling of its day. It had central heating, an indoor swimming pool, a bowling alley, lifts and an intercom system at a time when most American homes had neither electricity nor indoor plumbing. Read the rest of this entry »


Written by Theophyle

October 15, 2012 at 8:16 am

The Economist: Dithering in the dark

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Quantifying the effect of political uncertainty on the global economy

Europe teeters at the edge of an economic abyss, its fate in the hands of political leaders at odds over how to solve the continent’s twin debt and bank crises. America may be pushed over a “fiscal cliff” at the end of the year by political dysfunction. And even China, although unlikely to take a deep dive, is hostage to the will and ability of its government to stimulate growth. More than at any point in recent history, the global economy’s fate is tied to the capriciousness of policymakers. How much does such uncertainty cost?

Anecdotal evidence suggests that it costs a lot. Customers of Cisco Systems, the world’s biggest maker of internet gear, are taking longer to make decisions, according to John Chambers, the company’s boss. Their orders tend to be smaller than before, and to require more in-house approvals. They say they are planning to buy more stuff later this year, reported Mr Chambers recently, but “then in the very next breath they say it depends on what happens on a global and macro scale.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Theophyle

June 19, 2012 at 8:52 am

The angel and the monster

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Mother Teresa and Lady Gaga are the latest icons of the leadership industry. Don’t laugh.

THERE are obvious differences, of course. Lady Gaga’s raw-meat dress would probably not have appealed to Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The pop star’s habit of changing from one bizarre costume to another several times a day, and maybe 20 times during a gig, might have struck the late nun as extravagant. Mother Teresa wore the same outfit every day: a white sari with three blue stripes, reflecting her vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Lady Gaga, by contrast, is not big on chastity. (“Baby when it’s love if it’s not rough it isn’t fun,” she sings.) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Theophyle

June 8, 2011 at 8:20 am