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Recent research shows that a majority of global executives expect to have to retrain or replace a quarter of their workforce by 2023 if they are to digitise their business. And studies show that while digitalisation has the potential to boost growth, it could also depress demand if it compresses the labour share of income.
What are executives who worry about the political implications of mass lay-offs to do? Rana Foroohar has an answer in her latest column: she calls it the “25 per cent solution”. Don’t lay off the workers whose jobs are threatened by the digital revolution — retrain them.
There are lessons US companies could learn from the way Germany responded in the aftermath of the financial crisis. It’s time, Rana says, for the public and private sectors to collaborate in the building of a “digital New Deal”.
Brexit change of mind
Removal of trade barriers and the construction of the European single market was one of the great achievements of British diplomacy in the 1980s, writes former foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind. Sadly, in the wake of the 2016 EU referendum, he argues, it is impossible for the UK to remain a member of the single market for fundamental democratic reasons.
Department of bad ideas
Some proponents of reform of the euro behave as if the financial crisis and the crisis in the eurozone that followed never happened. If, argues Wolfgang Munchau, they had drawn the right lessons from the meltdown, they wouldn’t now be proposing European Safe Bonds.
The Kremlin long ago mastered the art of outsourcing its cyber disinformation campaigns to non-state actors. The recent indictment issued by US special prosecutor Robert Mueller is a sign, writes Andrei Soldatov, that the Americans are waking up to this.
Best of the rest
President Trump’s victim-blaming response to the mass shooting in Florida — Amy Davidson Sorkin in the New Yorker
Bitcoin is better than the euro — Gaspard Koenig in Les Echos (in French)
The AI debate we need — Sami Mahroum for Project Syndicate
Israel’s right wing has never told the truth — Gideon Levy in Ha’aretz
Tillerson can’t fix what ails US ties with Turkey — Robbie Gramer in Foreign Policy
What you’ve been saying
Put frontline medical staff back in charge — letter from Tony Barcroft in response to NHS finances can only be fixed by breaking with Treasury orthodoxy:
If you look at the facts and compare Germany with the UK, the answer is not just more money but much more efficiency. Germany has 46 per cent more physicians and 300 per cent more hospital beds per head of population. However, spending is only 28 per cent higher than the UK. We would be ecstatic to have this level of care, but to achieve it with the current NHS infrastructure would cost much more than German spending levels.
Comment by Confucius on How to end South Africa’s economic crisis:
SA could use a healthy dose of competition policy, accompanied by effective continuing pro-competitive market regulation, and badly needs to diversify its economy. The latter, however, is a big challenge. I suspect there is scope to expand tourism and agriculture, though that would not constitute diversification, nor would expanding mining, which would surely only exacerbate the “Dutch disease” ... Meanwhile, given the existing severe supply constraints in the economy, any competitive advantage from further devaluation of the rand — which has already halved in value against the US$ since 2011 — would risk being quickly erased by imported inflation, unless countered by restrictive monetary policy that would depress growth.
We must hold on to the precious right to think, speak and argue freely — letter from Zaki Cooper in response to Poland’s Holocaust law has worrying echoes:
The nature of history is that it should be subject to free exchange and debate, however abhorrent the views. This privilege should even extend to the right of Holocaust deniers to proclaim their abhorrent, ugly and ridiculous views. It was George Orwell (1903-1950) who said: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” In a similar vein, the great liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806-73) said in his seminal book On Liberty: “If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.” We should hold on preciously to the right to think, speak and argue freely, ideas espoused by the likes of Mill and Orwell and they are more relevant today than ever.
How Vladimir Putin mastered the cyber disinformation war Robert Mueller’s move to indict organisations affiliated to the Kremlin is a change in tack
Trump’s fiscal gamble and the US twin deficits A large fiscal boost so late in the US cycle will add to pressure on the Fed
The 25% solution: how to safeguard the labour force against AI Companies and government can rebuild trust in Big Tech by retraining workers
Start preparing for the next financial crisis now We need measures to limit the likelihood of disorderly market processes in the next downturn
Eurozone reformers act as if the crisis never happened Safe bonds are a bad idea whose time has definitely not come
FT View: Mueller’s indictment forces a hard reckoning Russian subversion requires a unified response from the US
FT View: Breaking the stalemate in Northern Ireland Some cooling off, and a modest dose of direct rule, could restart talks
The Big Read
The Big Read: HSBC hopes to leave era of scandals behind The bank has been held back by huge fines and hasty acquisitions, but believes it is now in a position to grow again