Listen to this article
This article is from today’s FT Opinion email. Sign up to receive a daily digest of the big issues straight to your inbox.
This week actor/rapper Donald Glover lit up social media with a provocative video that has already been viewed 75m times on YouTube. In it, Mr Glover, aka Childish Gambino, folds his body into a strange balletic pose, pulls out a pistol, and shoots a blindfolded man in the head, saying, "This is America". Mr Glover, writes India Ross in a profile, is an enigmatic African American performer who has worked in almost every major sphere of entertainment for the past decade, amassing a considerable following in all of them.
Not only has the 34-year-old from Stone Mountain, Georgia, nabbed a big role in a Star Wars movie due out later this month, but his comedy series Atlanta, created for the TV network FX in 2016, provided some of the most incisive social commentaries ever seen on TV, India writes. She asks how long he can sustain his balancing act between agitator and pop idol and how he will reckon with the fact that the same people he is indicting are the ones making him rich.
Argentine anguish: Financial abnormality is normal in Argentina, writes John Paul Rathbone, in light the country's humbling decision this week to go back to the IMF to ask for its 21st financial support plan. Decades of populist rule have crushed what was once among the world's 10 richest countries. Current president Mauricio Macri has worked manfully to reform the economy without inflicting too much pain on the populace, but rising interest rates have made his task much harder.
Sex redistribution: A horrific van attack in Toronto last month has brought attention to an angry group of men who describe themselves as "incels", short for involuntary celibates. It has sparked an unusual intellectual debate about whether society has a duty to help those who lack access to sex. Alexandra Scaggs demolishes this argument, pointing out that advocates have fundamentally confused wealth, which is a transferable commodity, with sex, which is a two-person agreement that is not.
Peer pressure: Brexit has propelled Britain's constitutional peculiarities — particularly its unelected upper chamber — into the spotlight. That puts would-be reformers like Sir Vince Cable in a difficult position, he writes. Vince has long sought to dissolve the House of Lords on the grounds that it is anti-democratic. But right now that body is providing a service that he and other Remainers applaud, by subjecting the bill to withdraw the UK from the EU to far more forensic and rigorous scrutiny than it received in the Commons.
Best of the week
Memo from Amazon: tell a good story by John Gapper
Mohamed Salah’s success resonates far beyond football by Roula Khalaf
Donald Trump goes for global regime change by Edward Luce
Wall St must suppress its delight at Eric Schneiderman’s fall by Brooke Masters
Donald Trump declares trade war on China by Martin Wolf
Argentina’s plea for IMF help is a reminder of global fragility by Gillian Tett
Britain opts for weak government by popular design by Janan Ganesh
Gradual reform fails to stem the pessimism of the Iranian public by Najmeh Bozorgmehr
What you've been saying
Inequality’s monetary fix — letter from Richard Silveira
The greatest driver of generational inequality is skewed monetary policy that has inflated asset prices to artificially high levels. Both property and pensions are out of reach for the next generation . . . The only solution is for the Bank of England to begin to unwind quantitative easing and allow long-term rates to return to their natural equilibrium.
Comment from Friend on Donald Trump goes for global regime change
Who would trust America's word now? It will be much harder for the US to be a partner to any kind of deal with anyone in future because Trump has just shown that he is happy to renege on any deal when it suits him.
Post-Brexit trade starts with small silver linings — letter from John Barstow
The way to start off a UK trade policy in its own right is in small steps. A US/UK trade agreement has far too many challenges. Therefore it makes manifest sense for a mutual phasing out of non-contentious trade barriers with nearest and dearest within the Commonwealth as Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Bruce Tulloh, barefoot runner and biologist, 1935-2018
The ‘typical English student’ with indomitable spirit who crossed the US in 63 days
Technology not size is key to banking success
It is agile, relentlessly customer-focused businesses that will triumph
The House of Lords is leaping to the defence of UK democracy
I welcome converts to reform, but Brexit has left us in a constitutional fix
Wetherspoons, Greggs and the food and drink life cycle
Are British consumers falling out of love with cheap beer and sausage rolls?
Free Lunch: Is the European project anti-social? Part 2
National governments can choose to be more progressive
Argentina’s fickle fortunes have turned sour once again
Despite President Macri’s efforts at reform, the country faces a new financial crisis
Undercover Economist: Breast cancer scare recalls the value of collecting evidence
Research and knowledge are not always enough — people must also notice them
This article has been amended to correct a reference to a deadly attack in Toronto. The perpetrator drove a van at pedestrians rather than firing a gun.