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.
North Korea’s Kim Jong Un must be feeling rather pleased with himself, observes Philip Stephens. This week he wangled a visit to Beijing including an audience in the Great Hall of the People with China’s Xi Jinping, and plans are firming up for his summit with US president Donald Trump. What Mr Kim wants from talks with the US is recognition as a fully fledged nuclear power. Only when it feels secure will Pyongyang consider arrangements to reduce military tension on the peninsula.
But there is another way to view the conflict, as a three way poker game. Between them, Mr Trump and Mr Xi hold almost all of the high cards. As long as they are playing against each other, Mr Kim emerges the winner. Change the dynamic of the game, Philip says, and the North Korean leader would be forced to show his hand.
If regulators want to crack down on social media companies that use the data that customers disclose while using “free” apps, they need only look to financial services for a model. Merryn Somerset Webb argues that Facebook, Twitter and Google function much like fund managers and financial advisers — they profit by holding and using assets that belong to their customers. Just as fund managers must disclose the fees they take out of a client’s account, the data-gatherers should be forced to say exactly how much they are making from each customer’s data.
The city of Sheffield's plans to fell thousands of oaks to deal with its burgeoning pothole problem has enraged some residents and roiled the local election campaign. As part of the fight, writes Sebastian Payne, retirees set out on early-morning patrols to spot the high-vis vests of Amey’s felling teams. The axemen are then blocked by tree-huggers, until police and private security teams undertake their forcible removal.
When Victoria Tauli-Corpuz learnt that the Philippine government had accused her of being a terrorist, she writes, her immediate reaction was to hug her grandkids, fearing for their safety. Then, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples started speaking out against President Rodrigo Duterte. Again. Victoria argues that Mr Duterte, already known for his bloody war on drugs, has turned his fury onto the country’s indigenous peoples.
Unhappy middle ages
Global surveys routinely find that young people are happiest with their lot in life, and in Anglophone countries, older people tend to recover their equanimity. That means that the age of discontent largely centred on people in their mid-20s to mid-50s. Primatologists have also found evidence of a midlife crisis in great apes. Given all this, Tim Harford wonders whether governments should start taxing the old and the young and paying compensation to people like him. He is 44.
Best of the week
The best flight is straight and does not stop by John Gapper
How China can avoid a trade war with the US by Martin Wolf
The Westfield Death Star destroys its rivals by Brooke Masters
Democracy’s faint pulse in the Middle East by Gideon Rachman
Russia and the west’s moral bankruptcy by Ed Luce
Decoding our digital footprints on Facebook is a flawed science by Roula Khalaf
Chinese tycoons have to play the connections game by Jamil Anderlini
What you’ve been saying
Naive Zuckerberg ought to grow up— letter from Gerry Loughrey
In his CNN interview, Mark Zuckerberg admitted to some naivety and lack of understanding about Facebook user preferences on “data portability”. Apart from the obvious retort “Why didn’t you ask them?” (a survey maybe?), it suggests that Mr Zuckerberg still sees his creation not as a business but primarily as a tool for connecting people. This view is reinforced with his liberal use of the term “community” in describing Facebook users. In a 19-year-old, some naivety can be understood but in a 33-year-old with 14 years’ experience as chief executive of one of the world’s biggest businesses it is a little troubling.
Comment from AF100 on Russia and the west’s moral bankruptcy
Having worked for one of the major banks the amount of dodgy money I saw flowing into bricks and mortar in London postcodes is unreal. My favourite was when we’d reject taking on a client as it was clear they were as clean as a Bangladeshi sewage worker’s underpants and yet they’d somehow buy the property for cash anyway. How the lawyers could get these transactions done without being in cahoots is beyond me. A total travesty.
Data consent management need not be decentralised— letter from Dave Cunningham
I agree wholeheartedly that a digital identity would be a fantastic step forward in consent management, these systems need not be decentralised, as they are only useful if those who have the ability to create profiles legitimately are honest and have stringent identity-proof systems (“know your customer”) in place. These systems are based on government-issued documents that are verified by trusted methods/parties so are in effect digitised versions of existing credentials. To achieve the desired effect, centralised government systems need to be established and then distributed to individuals. As such it could be viewed as a centralised decentralised system, similar to the model suggested by Bank of England governor Mark Carney for a central bank digital currency to rival cryptoassets such as bitcoin.
FT Collections: What our correspondents saw
From a Delhi market to a Tokyo candy shop, unexpected stories from around the world
Free Lunch: Halfway to Brexit
One year behind us, one year to go
Instant Insight: Disgraced cricketer Steve Smith shows CEOs how to say sorry
Humbled executives should learn from the contrition and remorse shown by the Australian
Britain’s social ills cannot be blamed on rising inequality
Discontent is better explained by regional disparities and non-existent wage growth
A silent war is being waged on Philippine indigenous communities
A UN special rapporteur writes about being added to the government’s terror list
How to make a carbon pricing system work
Compensation for those who lose out and sanctions on non-compliance are needed
Opinion today: The ultra long haul hop
‘Flying long distance is horrible, but spending time in airports is surely far worse’
Tree-hugging protesters take back control in Sheffield
The struggle to save a city’s trees divides people and politicians
Trump, Xi and how to play poker with Pyongyang
Only Sino-American understanding can ensure lasting agreement on the Korean peninsula