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The white heat of technology. Morning in America. A new dawn has broken. This trio of upbeat political slogans symbolised an era of hope — when politicians were elected on waves of optimism about a better future. But, in recent years, such feelings have been increasingly absent. Nostalgia has overtaken optimism as the primary emotion driving politics.

Philip Stephens argues in his latest column that many voters are harking back to an imagined past. When leaders are elected based on championing past glories — Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” message for example — they are ignoring some of the injustices that once existed. For some parts of society, things may have been safer and more stable in years gone by. But for others, there is little to celebrate about the harsh realities that have been tackled in recent decades.

Edward Luce argues that it’s time for China to really begin worrying about Donald Trump. For political, geopolitical and trade reasons, a clash with the US is looking increasingly likely.

Henry Mance imagines the diary of a British climate change sceptic, stoically battling through increasingly sweltering conditions.

John Authers warns of the risks to pensions. Although banks have become safer after the financial crash, he reckons that the dangers have been pushed elsewhere.

Cecilia Malmström, former EU trade commissioner, says the bloc will stand up for rules-based trade at the WTO, even when progress is held up by narrow interests.

Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at MIT, argues that machine learning will become the engine of global growth. But AI will mean challenging longstanding assumptions about work.

What you’ve been saying

Translations should involve a native speaker— Letter from Dominique Jonkers:

As a professional translator, as a native French speaker, and as a Dutchman, with near-native mastery of Dutch, I can confirm that the translations provided by Her Majesty’s government of the Brexit white paper’s executive summary are beyond salvation. One only needs to read the four first paragraphs to understand that the final French and Dutch versions (I can’t speak for the others) have not been touched by native revisers/editors. So the main problem is not the odd word being ill translated, but more generally the shabby “writing” style.

Comment by kestrell on Sergio Marchionne and the nature of leadership:

No obituary is refreshing. But the life and success of Sergio Marchionne is refreshing reading in this period of overbearing populism, trade wars, Brexit and general obstructive criticism of everything and everybody. A reading of Mr Marchionne’s life and success is uplifting, and a tonic for those of us seeking good, successful news as opposed to bad, fake, exaggerated and depressing news.

EY’s list may have reduced its future talent pool— Letter from Jenny Sweeney:

Using a page in the Financial Times (July 23) to introduce EY’s new UK partners was a positive boost for all concerned. However, I wonder if the company considered that, in so doing, it may have reduced the pool of capable talent wishing to work for them. Of the 70 partners listed only 13 (allowing for some judgment on unfamiliar names) are women, barely 19 per cent. Surely 46 years after the first Equal Opportunities Act and eight years after the second, EY could be “building a better working world” for all its staff. Bright young women might not look to it for a rewarding and satisfying career.

Today’s opinion

Instant Insight: The benefits of HS2 are becoming harder to discern
The high-speed railway will cost more than planned, but the alternatives may be worse

Pensions risk could make schmucks of savers
Post-crisis, banks have become safer but the dangers have been pushed elsewhere

Machine learning will be the engine of global growth
Harnessing the power of AI means changing longstanding practices and assumptions

EM Squared: Emerging markets cheerleaders rush to puncture bond bubble talk
Investors’ willingness to lend despite borrowers’ credit quality deteriorating poses anomaly

Hardline visa decisions are damaging Britain’s reputation
Why was my high-flying medical researcher twice rejected by the UK with no appeal?

Diary of a sweaty climate change sceptic
How should a steadfast denier account for the heatwave?

The EU will stand up for rules-based trade
Too often progress at the WTO has been held up by states pursuing narrow interests

Nostalgia has stolen the future
In the US, UK and France voters seek solace in old, imagined certainties

FT View

The FT View: A victory for Imran Khan offers Pakistan change
Former cricket star will have an uphill task delivering in the face of constraints

The FT View: Steve Bannon’s plot for the downfall of old Europe
The next EU parliament elections are a chance to defeat the far-right

The Big Read

The Big Read: Zimbabwe election: what the strongman left behind
With millions of voters desperate for a functioning economy, Robert Mugabe’s successor in the ruling party faces a tough fight to retain power


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