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John Plender writes that egregious boardroom pay awards remain endemic despite repeated reform efforts on both sides of the Atlantic. And although the details of business governance codes can seem arcane, the resentment that builds up about executive excesses can have dramatic political consequences — as a new book on economic populism explains. How people feel about their relative position is more important than the actual financial loss they might or might not experience. As John writes, if business is seen to be run by “a greedy, self-serving plutocracy” there will be repercussions.

Janan Ganesh reflects on the enduring influence of Steve Bannon in the White House. He points out that Donald Trump well remembers how he won.

Anjana Ahuja explains how we can combat the bigoted bots. New research brings the hope of removing inbuilt bias in decision-making algorithms.

Give Theresa May’s Brexit plan a helping hand, writes Isabelle Mateos y Lago, in an appeal to European leaders to search for a deal with the UK.

Roula Khalaf warns us to beware the “deepfakes”, an AI-powered version of fake news that is almost indistinguishable from real footage or video news reports.

What you’ve been saying

We are moving towards a global plutocracy — Letter from Annalisa Burello:

There is no doubt that the current billionaires are so wealthy that they represent the new global aristocracy and that they are beyond the reach of any of us, whose only economic hope is to become their vassals in providing services and executing their wishes. So if classic laissez faire market economics is not able to deliver competition and choice to the consumer, the political alternative is to cap the overall size of these giants and force them to spin off businesses once they reach that cap.

Comment by NSFW on Millennials must fight for their right to housing:

I am a member of Generation X gifted with elite computer skills; I have no dog in this fight. However, I have seen many average/low talent boomers take the position that they have something to teach millennials about school and work ethic. From my observer standpoint, younger generations are better educated, work harder, have less sex and cause less crime, yet have less. I conclude that as a generation, boomers were mostly just economically lucky . . . but try to tell them that.

He comes for us all — Letter from David Hockney:

There are more non-smokers dying in California now than smokers (Letters, July 23). Death awaits you even if you do not smoke.

Today’s opinion

The FT View: Sergio Marchionne and the nature of leadership
Think like an outsider, work like a mule, and stick to your principles

Lex: China IPOs/Pinduoduo: social climber
Investors should think twice before joining Tencent in fight with Alibaba

Lex: Deutsche Bank: onward, Christian
Questions hover over the feasibility of the bank’s turnround schedule

Steve Bannon’s influence endures in the Trump White House
Do not mistake the administration’s organisational chaos for ideological incoherence

FT Alphaville: UK fintechs aren’t eating the banks’ lunch just yet

Europe should offer Theresa May’s Brexit plan a helping hand
Both sides have an interest in avoiding a no-deal exit

If you thought fake news was a problem, wait for ‘deepfakes’
Artificial intelligence-powered videos can literally put words in people’s mouths

Sergio Marchionne, Fiat’s fearless saviour, 1952-2018
Canadian-Italian chief executive who saved Italy’s Fiat from bankruptcy and revived Chrysler

Executive pay rows show that governance matters
The contract between business and wider society has broken down

FT View

The FT View: Sergio Marchionne and the nature of leadership
Think like an outsider, work like a mule, and stick to your principles

The FT View: Britain has shirked its duty in the case of Isis ‘Beatles’
The home secretary is asking the US to do the UK’s dirty work

The Big Read

The Big Read: China’s debt threat: time to rein in the lending boom
In the first piece of an FT series, Martin Wolf explains why the risks of a destructive slowdown are growing even within Beijing’s managed system

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