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.

Flying long distance is horrible, but spending time in airports is surely far worse. So John Gapper predicts commercial success for a new breed of super-long-distance flight, such as the 17-hour Qantas Australia to London service launched last weekend.

The hub and spoke model of air travel was really the choice of the airlines, not of their passengers, argues John. Given the option, customers opt to save time. And if the comfort of the cabins, even in economy, continues to improve on these intercontinental routes, there is only one direction of travel.

And in the meantime, those pioneering Qantas passengers can preen as they compare themselves to elite travellers: their Boeing 787 has flown further than a Gulfstream G650, the fanciest of private jets.

Can data tell us who we are?
Roula Khalaf takes the online personality test at the heart of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal and finds the social media quiz severely lacking in individualised insights, politically useful or otherwise.

A model kleptocracy
Edward Luce writes that Russia is run not as an alternative model to western liberal democracy, but for the convenience and enrichment of Vladimir Putin and his associates. By being too hospitable to ill-gotten gains, the US and UK are also culpable, he argues.

Egypt’s ruthless repression
Seven years after the Arab Spring and the Tahrir Square protests, David Gardner reflects on the certain re-election of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as president in this week’s elections, and what clues to the nation’s future we can find in his elimination of dissenters.

Best of the rest

If you can’t see anti-Semitism, it’s time to open your eyes — Michael Segalov in The Guardian

Hating tipping is easy, fixing it is almost impossible — Charles Lane in the New York Times

Today’s rebels are model children — Ann Hulbert in The Atlantic

The dark matter of trade — Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

Cricket’s dark art of swing bowling explained — Catherine Tucker for The Conversation

What you’ve been saying

NDAs can serve a purpose — but are too often abused— letter from Baroness Helena Kennedy

The government cannot stand idly by and allow the powerful, rich and legally equipped to silence their complainants in exchange for money where the behaviour alleged is illegal. To do so undermines the role of law enforcement and the proper use of public interest disclosures. It allows well-resourced crooks and brigands to offend without fear of discovery, let alone sanction; promotes unsafe and discriminatory work environments; distorts offending statistics; masks social evils; strips victims of justice and, in particular cases, contributes to rape culture.

Comment from Paul A. Myers on How China can avoid a trade war with the US

All participants in the international trade game should be aware that the rise of Trumphow he got electedwill make the US Congress even more “trade shy” than it has been and that this tendency will last for decades. Look for more trade protection of jobs in old industries almost everywhere in the advanced economy world as democratically elected governments try to contain electoral revolts by “left behinds”. These voters have a lot of power because they only have to tip a couple of percentage points in elections to cause large shifts in political power.

The world’s oldest hatred is like a virus— letter from Zaki Cooper

Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the anti-Semitism in the Labour party has been lacklustre at best and lamentable at worst (“Jeremy Corbyn’s response to anti-Semitism has been inadequate”, Robert Shrimsley, March 27). Of course the world’s oldest hatred is like a virus that has mutated over the ages. Jews have been reviled for being rich and poor, capitalist and communist, metropolitan and parochial, stateless and having a state. The lesson of the last century shows that anti-Semitism is at its most potent when economies slump. On the three occasions when the gross domestic product growth in Europe fell to below 1 per cent (1914, 1938 and 2009), anti-Semitism rose. The economic difficulties faced by Germany in the 1930s gave the Nazi party an excuse to make scapegoats of the Jews. Today’s fragile economic climate should place us on our guard.

Today’s opinion

FT View: The art of dealing with Donald Trump’s tariffs
Countries must not create permanent distortions for temporary relief

Egypt’s repressive election offers clues to its future
Sisi’s intolerance of dissent has swept aside both opponents and political failures

Russia and the west’s moral bankruptcy
Vladimir Putin’s wealth extraction machine could not operate without our connivance

Free Lunch: The eurozone can cut through its Gordian knots
Simple solutions go a lot further than technocratic engineering

Decoding our digital footprints on Facebook is a flawed science
Tools that claim they can map our personalities from social media data miss the mark

Chinese tycoons have to play the connections game
Making use of guanxi can be lucrative but is also fraught with danger

Instant Insight: Mr Kim goes to China
The North Korean leader’s visit reaffirms Beijing’s central role in any future peace deal

EM Squared: Emerging market debt defaults confound investor perceptions
Shift from syndicated lending to bond sales for EM has spurred better transparency

FT Alphaville: How to win a debate in the cult of meritocracy

FT View

FT View: The art of dealing with Donald Trump’s tariffs
Countries must not create permanent distortions for temporary relief

Get alerts on Opinion when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Follow the topics in this article