Banking revenues rose 10 per cent in 2017 to $40.6bn, according to Coalition data © Getty
Experimental feature

Listen to this article

Experimental feature

This article is from today’s FT Opinion email. Sign up to receive a daily digest of the big issues straight to your inbox.

Should we welcome the volatility that roiled global markets last week? You could certainly argue that the calm of the past year, during which stock prices grew steadily and serenely, was unnatural and historically anomalous.

And if, as John Authers argues, capitalism is to continue working, then capital markets need to be allowed to function: "They must be allowed to work their process of creative destruction."

A correction is welcome, therefore. But, John suggests, problems nevertheless lie in wait. For it is not clear that markets which have adapted to the environment created by post-crisis financial engineering and quantitative easing are equipped to survive in the new era that appears to have been ushered in by the spike in volatility. Watch this space.

Ramaphosa's challenge: Replacing Jacob Zuma as president of South Africa was the easy bit. Now, writes Michael Power, the hard work for Cyril Ramaphosa really begins. The country is in a state of economic emergency, and radical measures are required.

Manufacturing outrage: Why is it that some misdemeanours provoke waves of public outrage and others don't? Outrage, Tim Harford suggests, is unpredictable, and sometimes we don't know how or what to feel until we see how others feel.

Money man: Supporters of the Premier League's executive chairman Richard Scudamore hail him as the man who transformed English football. His critics, notes Murad Ahmed, hold him responsible for destroying the game's soul. And now his winning streak in the negotiation of television rights could be coming to an end.

Best of the week

How to read the regime change at the US Fed by Gillian Tett

Who can halt Australia’s march towards a republic? by Sebastian Payne

Eurozone must be serious about risk-sharing by Marcello Minenna

Kim gives Trump a lesson in diplomacy by Philip Stephens

South Africans pin their hopes on Ramaphosa by Barney Mthombothi

The UK must propose a post-Brexit trade relationship by Ruth Lea

Where is the Tea Party when you need it? by Edward Luce

City universities are the new global brands by John Gapper

North Korean cheerleaders: the perfect distraction by Roula Khalaf

A bit of fear is good for markets by Martin Wolf

Brexit alarm bells ring for British industry by Peggy Hollinger

Brexiters owe us clarity on the sovereignty dividend by Janan Ganesh

Barclays’ past is coming back to haunt it by Philip Augar

Why South Africa matters to the world by Gideon Rachman

Digital distraction has grown a self-help industry by Emma Jacobs

What you've been saying

Boris's arguments would have made Gorgias jealous— letter from Prof Costas Milas in response to Boris Johnson's withered olive branch for Brexit's opponents

Mr Johnson’s speech was so rich in rhetoric that it would have made Sicilian rhetorician Gorgias extremely jealous. Not least because it followed extremely closely Gorgias’ most famous work, 'On the Non-Existent'. In that work, Gorgias put forward three arguments: that nothing exists; that, even if something in fact existed, it could not be properly known; and that, even it could be properly known, it could not be communicated through language. Indeed, what we really learnt from Mr Johnson’s speech is that a (proper) Brexit plan does not exist; that even if it did exist, it could not be properly known because all studies assessing this or alternative Brexit plans are well hidden from the public domain; and that, even if the Brexit plan was properly known, it definitely could not be effectively communicated either to the public or to the EU’s top negotiator Michel Barnier through the “cheapo flights to stag dos” language used by our top Brexiter.

Comment by Dewflicker in response to Oxfam, #MeToo and the psychology of outrage

Is the inevitable consequence of continuous outrage fatigue and indifference? Recall worthy initiatives such as "Live Aid" and the drive by people such as Sir Bob Geldof to end famine in Africa eventually leading to "donor fatigue" — the first instance I saw of this phrase being used. The endless media focus on this tragedy ironically made it harder to sustain public attention. This was before the internet, social media and the 24/7 media cycle. Today the latest hashtag flowers and wilts as the new new thing replaces it. We live in a world where politicians respond to mob outrage and shape policy based on the waving of virtual pitchforks. Hard to stay in front of the curve and craft functional policies with the virtual mob at your gates.

Investors, take it slow and steady— letter from Aron Miodownik in response to The languid pleasures of slow investing

While Tim Harford’s illuminating article points out the biological and behavioural traits that trip up many investors, he falls into a common trap by assuming that the stock market is the only food group for this particular species. Can I recommend a more Darwinian balanced diet, which invests in all assets all of the time (real estate, bonds, commodities, cash and global equities) and the tortoise as his mascot, rather than a sloth. Some 2,500 years ago, Aesop’s fable explained clearly how being slow and steady beats the hyperactive hare.

Today's opinion

Blocking takeovers is not an industrial strategy
Anxiety about the bid for the engineer GKN is understandable but wrong headed

FT View: Foreign Isis fighters must be seen to face justice
European states cannot simply disown their citizens when they become a menace

South Africa after Zuma
Where next for the country under new president Cyril Ramaphosa

How to end South Africa’s economic crisis
To meet the challenge, the new president must take a leaf out of China’s book

Two cheers for the return of volatility
An end to a period of unusual calm is welcome, but problems lie in wait for investors

Cry revolution if you like, Alexa is not listening
Uprisings need a real spark, but who will step up against Big Tech?

Times tables tests can add to the cure for Britain’s maths phobia
A country that prides itself on its way with words must teach vital numerical skills

Person in the News: Richard Scudamore, English football’s dealmaker in chief
The Premier League head’s winning streak on TV rights could be coming to an end

FT Alphaville: Marcus Noland explains the North Korean economy

FT Alphaville: Guest post: A former Fed insider explains the internal debate over QE3

Undercover Economist: Oxfam, #MeToo and the psychology of outrage
Our initial impressions are reinforced by others — and can be hijacked for political ends

FT View

FT View: Foreign Isis fighters must be seen to face justice European states cannot simply disown their citizens when they become a menace

Get alerts on Newsletter when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.

Follow the topics in this article