James Ferguson Web

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Socialism is hot these days — from the UK, where Jeremy Corbyn leads the Labour party, to the bluest parts of the US, where leftist candidates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib have recently won Democratic primaries. Should they ever gain real power, these politicians would do well to learn from the Nordic economies which have probably come closest to the new socialists’ own ideals, writes Martin Sandbu.

Despite what some socialist thinkers argue, these mixed economies do not succeed because they shun market dynamics or elevate workers interests above all else, Martin argues. Rather, they have built societies with compressed wage structures and highly organised labour and employer groups that work collectively to make their companies more productive. They also opt for judicious, rather than constant, government intervention to make capitalism good for workers.

Courtney Weaver writes that Donald Trump's enemies are beating him at his own game by convincing his long-time loyalists to turn on him. For a man who values loyalty above all, the recent decisions by Michael Cohen and Allen Weisselberg to work with prosecutors are particularly galling.

Isabel Schnabel, a top economic adviser to German premier Angela Merkel, argues that Europe’s banking union is incomplete because it lacks the key element of deposit insurance.

John Thornhill discovers that Silicon Valley's latest fear involves "divergent humanity", a dystopian future in which the vast majority of people are disadvantaged rather than helped by artificial intelligence, causing social breakdown.

David Gardner explores the political ramifications of Saudi Arabia's decision to shelve the initial public offering of state oil company Saudi Aramco. He argues that this shows that King Salman remains a strong counterbalance to Mohammed bin Salman, his headstrong young heir.

What you've been saying

Abandoning quarterly reporting would increase the cost of capital: letter from Jan Bouwens, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
I read with interest the Financial Times’ view that Donald Trump’s call for quarterly earnings in the US to be replaced by a six-month system was perhaps the most sensible tweet of his presidency. This argument skims over the effect less frequent reporting will have on the cost of capital, which is likely to rise if reporting decreases to just twice a year. Studies have found that the market punishes companies for filing their earnings reports late, which suggests that investors cannot wait to learn how well the company is performing. 

In response to "Only a new economic agenda can save the Conservatives" , Evidence-based says
Both major parties have been taken over by zealots. So far as the Tories are concerned, their embracing of Brexit, to placate the right-wing of their party, has sacrificed their credentials as the "safer pair of hands for the economy". There will be more austerity to come, simply because the economic damage of Brexit will mean that there are less tax inflows to pay for future public services. Time for a new Centre party?

Tax all South African land according to its value: letter from Nicholas D Rosen, Arlington, VA, US
I agree with President Cyril Ramaphosa that land reform in South Africa is a moral, social and economic imperative. I submit that the best way to accomplish it is not to seize some plots of land from particular owners, but to fundamentally reform the country’s tax system and tax all land (farmland, urban land or mineral land) according to its value. The landowners would then be secure in possession of their improvements, and able to make future improvements without fear of them being confiscated together with the bare land.

Today's opinion

Donald Trump smells trouble as his former loyalists fall away
The president’s enemies are beating him at his own game

Silicon Valley’s dystopian vision
Forget fevered talk of ‘divergent humanity’. Technology should serve the public good

What the Nordic mixed economy can teach today’s new left
Much of Scandinavia’s success is not rooted in direct state intervention

Europe’s banking union lacks the key element of deposit insurance
A guarantee scheme is crucial, writes economic advisor to German government

Birmingham prison was a near-death workplace
The UK jail shows what happens when management is absent and workers give up

FT Alphaville: The bull market is running out of brea(d)th

FT Alphaville: Further reading

Opinion today: The fatal attraction of a no-deal Brexit
The likely consequences are alarming, yet for some this kind of chaos would be tolerable

FT View

The FT View: China’s partners should not turn a blind eye to fate of Uighurs
If governments will not act, there is more the corporate sector could do

The FT View: Donald Trump’s updated Nafta agreement will do more harm than good
Congress and Canada should not be bounced into backing the US president’s deal

The Big Read

The Big Read: Big pharma takes a gamble on NHS experiment
Prevention trial aims to prove to cash strapped service that products are value for money

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