James Ferguson Web

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The likely consequences of a "no-deal" Brexit are alarming, to the say the least: shortages of medicines; a proliferation of bureaucratic red tape; and the transformation of Kent to into a giant lorry park to name only three.

Yet, as Gideon Rachman observes in his column this week, there are people for whom this kind of chaos would be tolerable. And not just the hardline Brexiters who regard Theresa May's Chequers proposals as a betrayal either.

Some Remainers in the UK see a no-deal scenario as the only way to discredit the hard Brexit vision once and for all. Meanwhile the European Commission arguably regards no deal as preferable to a compromise on the basic principles of the single market. All, Gideon concludes, are deluded in their own way, and their refusal to compromise risks unleashing a crisis over which they will have no control.

Sebastian Payne argues that only a new economic agenda and a revival of One Nation Conservatism can save the Tory party from defeat at the next general election.

Economist Anke Hassel writes that a record current account surplus notwithstanding, the German economy suffers from the effects of weak domestic investment and low wages.

Jesse Fried, a professor at Harvard Law School, contends that US president Donald Trump and Senator Elizabeth Warren have misdiagnosed the problem of short-termism in public companies.

What you've been saying

Thousands of problems and not just with customs— letter from Andrew Blelloch:
Having run a customs operation for an American contractor on a major project in Europe, I am very conscious of how frustrating and difficult it is. To give an example: we had many US-made welding machines stopped because customs could not decide whether replacement parts were electronic parts or parts of a welding machine and which tariff to apply. To allow the temporary import of these machines tax free, as allowed, required us to hire a consultant for a handsome fee.

There will be thousands of such problems arising, related not only to customs duties but to VAT, environmental standards, health requirements and a host of other issues. Additional customs officers hired in the UK will need a considerable time to understand the complexities of their jobs and to work efficiently. There is likely to be a not insignificant level of corruption

Comment from Chuck Tatum on our obituary of John McCain:
The 2000 election will in hindsight be seen as America's watershed election when it turned away from being a beacon to the world to becoming its dark mirror. Had McCain won the Republican candidacy, and either he or Gore had won the presidency, we would doubtless have a quite different America today. One that would have led the debate on climate change and taken the lead on international cooperation and peacekeeping instead of becoming the disruptive and destructive rogue nation it is now. And we probably would have avoided the financial crisis which has poisoned today's political environment and created this hysterical atmosphere of paranoia and mistrust where reasoned, sensible debate is almost impossible.

Eventually, someone will have to pay more tax— letter from David Redshaw:
How does a race to the bottom on corporation tax help anyone? Germany has a corporation tax of 30 per cent, Ireland one of 12.5 per cent, but which of those countries went pear-shaped during the so-called global financial crisis? Ireland’s pitch to international companies has merely resulted, according to the OECD, in an unusually high proportion of profits and royalties being repatriated.

With the Tories having increased our national debt to more than 80 per cent for the past eight years, it follows that someone somewhere at some point has to pay increased taxes, keeping in mind the need to satisfy supply side and demand side. Perhaps your analysts could give us the benefit of their wisdom as to what might be fair taxation.

Today's opinion

Trump and Warren offer the wrong diagnosis of short-termism
Employees on boards and no quarterly reporting will not fix corporate America’s ills

Only a new economic agenda can save the Conservatives
The party needs a fresh message if it is to keep voters’ trust and push ahead of Labour

FT Alphaville: The dollar won't capitulate to presidential jawboning

An AI genre in its infancy questions the nature of art
Delhi gallery probes what differentiates the human mark from the machine one

The fatal attraction of a no-deal Brexit
A bitter rift between Brussels and London would be geopolitical madness

Germany must abandon its record surplus and rebalance
The economy needs higher domestic investment and to tackle low pay

Click Here to Kill Everybody by Bruce Schneier
Cyber security solutions that should be required reading for politicians worldwide

FT View

The FT View: The economic logic of scrapping small change
Abolishing 1p and 2p coins makes sense but is politically difficult

The FT View: Brazil’s presidential election will be a watershed moment
As other emerging markets wobble, investors are running scared

The Big Read

The Big Read: Central Europe: running out of steam
After 20 years of growth, labour shortages threaten to shake up the region’s economic model

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