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The rest of the world's economy is three times bigger than that of the US. And in his column this week Martin Wolf examines the risks Donald Trump is running in escalating his trade dispute with China in a way that could end up uniting all other regions against America.

The pure bilateralism prefered by the Trump administration in pursuing its quest for a more favourable trade balance heightens the danger, Martin argues, of damaging the US itself, trade, the world economy and international relations.

He also points out some basic flaws in the US plan to "win" the trade dispute: for example, China cannot deliver bilaterally balanced trade because it is unable to force Chinese people to buy goods they do not want. These are, he says , primitive ideas for the president of the most sophisticated country on earth.

Sarah O'Connor writes on why measures to ensure fairer tipping for hospitality staff can still be a cover for low pay.

Tony Barber argues that Europe's insurgent populists will not find it easy to secure a victory in next May's elections to the EU parliament.

David Gardner examines the options for Turkey's president Erdogan as he faces crucial decisions over Syria, and relations with the EU, US and Russia.

Frederick Studemann discusses  the prospects for a new golden age of Spanish influence in the EU after the UK leaves.

What you've been saying …

Letter from Prof Martyn Thomas — UK should make cyber defence its priority
‘It would be better for the UK to employ [cyber security experts] in cyber defence than in the planned cyber warfare unit ("Britain set to boost cyber warfare capability" September 22). Thousands of hospitals, refineries, factories, warehouses, infrastructure nodes and other important systems are currently vulnerable and securing them needs far more expert resources than are available.’

Letter from Guy Wroble — Richest 1% have little reason to pay more tax
‘Martin Wolf (“Saving liberal democracy from the extremes”, September 26) tells us that, “Elites must promote a little less liberalism, show a little more respect for the ties binding citizens to one another and pay more in tax”, all without giving a reason why the 1 per cent should do so. In the absence of an ideological competitor to capitalism and with free movement of capital, what binds the rich to the nations of their birth? Little, if anything. Put yourself in the position of the 1 per cent. They probably pay for their own security and privately educate their children. Public transportation is avoided. Governments just make life more expensive and inconvenient through taxes and regulations. But more importantly, for the past three decades the 1 per cent have, at least in America, been lauded as indispensable.’

Comment from Shaughraun on Sex, violence and the rise of populism by Gideon Rachman
‘Anger and polarization thrive on inequality. That is as true of gender inequality as of economic inequality…if many men in America are experiencing a downward trend in school, work, and emotional well-being, compared to girls and women, it's no surprise that this results in polarization in the cultural and political arenas.’

Today's opinion

The FT View: Loyal customers should be valued, not punished
Probe of unfair price discrimination may force companies to change their models

Imagining a new golden age for Spain after Brexit
The UK’s withdrawal offers an opportunity for revived Spanish influence

Donald Trump is wrong: China is not Mexico
It would not be hard for Beijing to offset a loss of demand in a trade war with the US

Turkey faces tough choices on the US, Syria and EU
Recep Tayyip Erdogan must decide how to respond to American bluster and Moscow’s demands

Inside Business: Toyota’s rethink on China reflects new realities
Carmaker sees an opportunity to expand sales of its fuel-cell vehicles

Why I am studying science for the first time at the age of 70
How do aircraft take off, our writer has often wondered. Now he plans to find out

Restaurant tipping should not be an excuse for low wages
In every other sector of the economy, performance management is the employer’s job

The FT View: Angela Merkel’s fading authority is a problem for Europe
The German chancellor needs to instil some order into her government

FT Alphaville: Copper points to EM rebound

FT Alphaville: Further reading

FT View

The FT View: Loyal customers should be valued, not punished
Probe of unfair price discrimination may force companies to change their models

The FT View: Angela Merkel’s fading authority is a problem for Europe
The German chancellor needs to instil some order into her government

The Big Read

The Big Read: The Brexit effect: Brussels tries to blunt the Swiss model
The alpine country has many of the benefits of EU membership that British politicians would like to re-create

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