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On August 20, it will be 50 years since Soviet tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia, snuffing out the “Prague Spring” — the attempt by Alexander Dubcek and other communist leaders to liberalise the Czech regime.
For many young Czechs and Slovaks, however, the events of August 1968 are ancient history. As Tony Barber points out in his column on Tuesday, the lessons of the Prague Spring — principally that the human thirst for rights and justice is unquenchable — are no longer taught in schools in either of the former Czechoslovakia’s constituent parts.
And that, Tony writes, is a problem. For neither the Czech Republic nor Slovakia has been immune to the miasma of illiberalism and authoritarianism that has spread across central and eastern Europe in recent years.
Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, argues that the British taxation system is a mess. It was designed for a younger and more economically active population than the one the UK now has.
Laurence Daziano, a professor of economics at Sciences Po in Paris, writes that the currency crisis in Turkey is a chance for the EU to reset its relations with Ankara.
Sam Arie, a research analyst at UBS, argues that recent mergers and acquisitions in the European energy sector show that the fundamental economics of the industry are changing.
Amy Kazmin examines the challenges that face furniture retailer Ikea as it finally opens its first store in India, 12 years after first applying to enter a market that still tantalises foreign companies.
What you’ve been saying
Monetary policy may have been overly aggressive: letter from Desmond Lachman, American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC, US
Martin Sandbu’s characterisation of world central bank policy since 2008 as timid sits most uncomfortably with the facts ( “The devastating cost of central bank inaction”). Never before have the world’s major central banks kept interest rates so low for so long as they have done over the past decade. More importantly yet, never before have these banks increased their balance sheets on anything like the scale that they have done since 2008 by their aggressive bond-buying programmes.
In response to New investment rules will squeeze US-China flows, Old School Canuck says:
In Canada, polls still suggest that people believe more business with China is a good idea. But I suspect that, as in much else, we will follow the lead set elsewhere. Which is not to say that the manifestation of greater China skepticism will be anything like the US version. But there will be a re-think.
Four-day week will not work for entrepreneurs: letter from Alexander Mann, Concentric, London, UK
Four-day weeks may boost productivity among established businesses ( “Hard work might not pay after all”), but the opposite is usually true among those starting new ventures. […] While there is a limit to the time you can spend on creative activities, with the former an individual can spend as much time as their willpower allows. These tasks must get done in order to push the business forward, and with limited resources, if the founder doesn’t do it, nobody will.
Britain’s taxation system is an inefficient mess
Demographic change means that policies will have to adapt to an ageing population
Ikea finally opens in India, minus the meatballs
The furniture retailer is tailoring its offerings to local tastes
A chance to reset Europe’s relations with Turkey
Brussels would do well to encourage the democratic values many Turks subscribe to
Renewables are primed to enter the global energy race
Solar and wind power could soon compete with oil and gas on scale and cost
The Prague Spring still haunts Europe
The human thirst for political rights, justice and national freedom is unquenchable
Stand Out of Our Light, by James Williams
A philosophical study of the ’faulty GPS’ that guides us in the age of Big Tech
Germany’s coal task force can change things for Europe
For two decades, the industry has defied the ‘Energiewende’ environmental plan
Why millennials are uncovering tattoos at work
New research suggests inked individuals no longer face employment discrimination
The FT View: Turkey’s crisis and the risk of an investor shift
After a run-up in dollar debt, other emerging markets face pressure
The FT View: A debate is needed over embryo research limits
There are good arguments for doubling the longstanding 14-day rule
The Big Read
The Big Read: African economy: the limits of ‘leapfrogging’
The rapid spread of technology has raised hopes for Africa, but digital services cannot take the place of good governance