© AFP
Experimental feature

Listen to this article

00:00
00:00
Experimental feature
or

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

When America's biggest pharmacy business looks to buy one of the country's oldest insurers where do you look in search of an explanation? Answer: Amazon. The threat by the online retailing giant to move into the business of selling prescription drugs is shaking up the wider healthcare sector, including influencing this week's deal by CVS to acquire Aetna, the insurance group. 

The $69bn move, writes John Gapper in his weekly column, is part of a wave of consolidation rolling across a number of industries as companies respond to increasingly fierce competition from internet giants. The route to salvation, it seems, lies in consolidation. The result is that new corporate giants are popping up everywhere.

This is turn presents a challenge for anti-trust authorities. They now not only have to grapple with the fact that the new economy is a revolutionary phenomenon but also that it defies the framework of existing antitrust law. The response is strangely ambivalent. Little is done to curb the biggest internet platforms but action is taken against medium-sized companies looking to merge so that they can compete with the tech giants. As John writes, it is time for “a fundamental rethink of how the law promotes competition in the internet age.”

Dangerous decision: Donald Trump's announcement to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital risks stoking tensions in the Middle East, according the FT View. It will no doubt complicate life for Saudi Arabia, the president's chosen interlocutor in the region.

Ming lessons: Xi Jinping's anti-corruption drive is a defining feature of China today. Yet, writes Jamil Anderlini, it bears the hallmarks of a similar initiative undertaken six centuries ago in the early years of the Ming dynasty. And that did not end well.

Putin fixation: Liberal America has an unhealthy obsession with Russian interference in last year's presidential election, writes Edward Luce. Looking to Moscow to explain why the Democrats lost the race for the White House absolves the party of its own mistakes. Until it acknowledges these it will struggle to win again.

Added attraction: We must all improve our maths — at least so say policymakers. But, writes Roula Khalaf, in order to raise our standards of numeracy, we need to overcome traditional views of maths as a difficult and boring subject. Thanks to number-crunching playwrights and weekend coding festivals the attractions of arithmetic are getting easier to grasp.

Best of the rest

Christine Keeler reminds us how badly treated women are — David Aaronovitch

Does President Trump Want to Negotiate Middle East Peace? — New York Times Editorial Board

Russia's Olympic Ban Is a Case of Smart Sanctions Design — Leonard Bershidsky, Bloomberg

The Deeper Significance of Bryan Singer's Firing — David Sims, The Atlantic

What you've been saying

Not all US businesses are flush with cash — letter from Marc D Peltier in MA, US

“The vast majority of “pass through” entities in America do not have wealthy investors. What would a tax reduction mean for my business? It would mean that I could afford to make the single mother, who works 20 hours a week for us, a full-time employee. Not all of America’s businesses are flush with cash and wealthy investors.”

Comment by dairjm on Janan Ganesh's column, Now the Brexiters surprise us with their realism

“Brexiters have not suddenly become realists; rather their lies and fantasies are being smashed in collisions with reality . . . very little that has happened in the last 18 months has been surprising to anyone who voted remain in June last year.”

First we lost an empire, now we’re losing Europe — from David Colvin in London, UK

“Britain is now negotiating to leave the EU, quitting the role that we fought so hard to attain more than 40 years ago. So to losing an empire is to be added losing Europe. This is folly on stilts and represents a monumental failure of British foreign policy that I fear we will come bitterly to regret.”

Today's opinion

FT Alphaville: Just how much money did the ECB lose on its Steinhoff investment? 

FT View: Russia’s Olympic ban is a sad but necessary step Exclusion from the winter games may yet bolster President Vladimir Putin

FT View: Trump’s dangerous decision on Jerusalem Recognising the holy city as Israel’s capital is a senseless provocation

Poland’s flirtation with nationalism will backfire Conflict with Brussels and anti-Islamism have served the ruling party well, so far

Universities deserve stronger leadership from vice-chancellors Controversies over high pay have brought the sector into disrepute

Free Lunch: Eurogroup reform: Poor craftsmen blame their tools The eurozone could be better run with the institutions it already has

Liberal America’s unhealthy fixation on Russia Putin gets a boost from US paranoia that its Cold War enemy fixed the election

Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive mimics a Ming obsession Absence of reform in China would scupper the success of the president’s campaign

Opinion today: Fixing the roof Mountains of both corporate and household debt need to be hacked back or we risk manageable debt becoming unmanageable if interest rates rise

A love of maths multiplies Britain’s potential power For more children to continue their studies, the lessons have to be more compelling

The Big Read: WTO faces an identity crisis as Trump weighs going it alone The institution’s members are confronted by what many see as an assault on the postwar trading system

Business is becoming a battle of the giants The rise of Amazon, Facebook and Google means antitrust rules need to be rewritten

FT View

FT View: Russia’s Olympic ban is a sad but necessary step Exclusion from the winter games may yet bolster President Vladimir Putin

FT View: Trump’s dangerous decision on Jerusalem Recognising the holy city as Israel’s capital is a senseless provocation

The Big Read

The Big Read: WTO faces an identity crisis as Trump weighs going it alone The institution’s members are confronted by what many see as an assault on the postwar trading system

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
myFT

Follow the authors of this article