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As central bankers gather at Jackson Hole this week for their annual confab, the case against modern monopolists is on their agenda. But Robin Harding writes in this week’s economics column that bashing big companies — particularly the tech giants — has become an unreasonable policy obsession. It may be popular to point the finger at market concentration as the root of all contemporary ills “but if the diagnosis is wrong, the cure will not work”.

An overly-narrow focus on competition and anti-trust initiatives, Robin warns, could lead to policymakers missing their chance to prescribe more effective treatments for lower investment, slow productivity growth, slow wage growth and a host of other economic maladies.

Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil, argues that his successor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (better known as Lula) is distorting recent Brazilian history in order to give a better account of himself while defending charges of corruption.

Frederick Studemann examines the prospects of a new leftist umbrella movement in Germany. Inventing a wonderful new compound noun for disgruntlement with politics is one thing (Politikverdrossenheit, since you ask), but can this new initiative thrive?

Sarah O'Connor instructs leaders to learn about better decision-making from studies of Olympic dressage judging and the experience of changing the line-up of juries. Bias is inevitable and putting together diverse and inclusive teams is the best way to counteract it.

Didem Tali, a young Turkish journalist, mourns the fact that in the era of Erdogan the assumptions she grew up with, about a secular nation in which she would enjoy broad rights and opportunities, may prove to have been mistaken.

What you’ve been saying

Are CEOs holding back the UK’s productivity? : letter from Philip Rooke, Berlin, Germany
Under-performing UK businesses could ask themselves: is the CEO helping the team to be more productive? We, the CEOs, are no longer hands-on value creators. The role of the CEO is to clear the way, to keep our value-generators pointing in the right direction and create an effective company culture. We should fight to make sure the right people, with the right skills and resources, are empowered, so they can make a difference to productivity.

In response to “Computer scientists struggle to build robots who get the joke”, Alibert says:
It’s the way you tell them. Bob Monkhouse’s joke went more like: When I die I want to pass peacefully in my sleep, like my Dad did. Not shouting and screaming like his passengers.

Off the shelf citizenship is being treated as a wheeze: letter from Thomas F Maher, London, UK
Despite being an ardent Remainer, I find myself in agreement with Leaver Andy Brabin’s concern about a lack of control over an individual EU member state granting residency to whoever it wishes and the recipients then being ultimately able to acquire EU passports. The unilateral granting of residency visas sits uneasily alongside the multilateral freedom of movement. Either the granting of such visas needs to be an EU multilateral decision or freedom of movement needs to be restricted further.

Today’s opinion

Russia launches a diplomatic offensive on rebuilding Syria
Putin wants to convince European nations to normalise relations with Assad

Competition is not the only problem for bankers at Jackson Hole
Policymakers should take issues of governance and corporate behaviour just as seriously

Diversity coaching from the Olympic dressage event
Groups, to act fairly, should be representative of those subject to their decisions

Something is stirring on the German left
A new movement might not last, but it is a vehicle for genuine dissatisfaction

How Britain can be an export champion
The government is helping businesses of all sizes to make the most of global trade

Lula da Silva’s vision of Brazil is a damaging fiction
My successor as president falsely casts himself as the victim of an ‘elite’ conspiracy

FT Alphaville: Argentina is failing on forward guidance

FT View

The FT View: The desperate plight of Maduro’s Venezuela
Comparisons with Syria’s refugee crisis are no long far-fetched

The FT View: Nord Stream 2 pipeline is against Europe’s interests
Brussels should block a project that undermines EU energy policy

The Big Read

The Big Read: Air pollution: why London struggles to breathe
The UK capital was a pioneer in limiting cars, but it is now almost as dirty as New Delhi or Beijing

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