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For many observers of the American corporate scene, it is a familiar picture: a small number of companies, sectors and cities taking an increasingly large share of the economic pie.

Rana Foroohar has written often about this “superstar economy”. But in her column this week, she looks at new research done by the McKinsey Global Institute which suggests that there is much more churn among the top 10 per cent of US companies than previously thought.

This is not cause for unalloyed celebration, however, Rana argues. The geographical distribution of this churn is still highly uneven. And as long as that is not addressed, competition between top corporations won't matter much.

Glenn Hutchins, chairman of North Island and a technology investor, makes the business case against US president Donald Trump's tax cuts.

Wolfgang Münchau argues that the political centre in Germany is giving way and that the implications for next year's elections to the European Parliament are considerable.

Hetan Shah, executive director of the Royal Statistical Society, warns of the dangers of fiddling statistics for political purposes.

What you've been saying

Shakespeare would have been subject to censorship in his own times— letter from Huw Simmons, London SW6, UK
I greatly enjoyed Yuan Yang’s article “The Bard and Beijing” (Life & Arts, October 6) on how performances of Shakespeare’s plays in present-day China are posing challenging questions to a regime reliant on political and artistic control. It is worth pointing out, however, that Shakespeare’s world had much more in common with the Chinese Communist party’s attitude to literary censorship than to 21st century Britain’s. Shakespeare had to submit his plays to the Revels Office for licensing and authorisation. The “Master of the Revels” — without whose authorisation no play could be (legally) performed — would scrutinise them with the aim of editing out content that might have displeased the authorities, the Church or the monarch.

In response to “ US must shed its illusions on Saudi Arabia's crown prince”, Epictetus says
The sentiment behind this article is perfectly reasonable and I share it. But an even graver illusion may be the illusion that there is someone other than MbS who can run Saudi, in the short or perhaps even medium term. This is no defence against whatever moral defects he may suffer, but it may well be a deciding factor.

Ford helped me speak out at last as a victim of rape— letter from Annie Rye, Lenox, MA, USA
Margaret McGirr (Letters, October 13) suggests that Christine Blasey Ford “must have found it gratifying to be believed automatically by thousands of women and men across the country”. I did not automatically believe Dr Ford but I do regard her testimony as valid. Why? Because as a young woman I was raped. Staying at my sister’s friend’s house asleep, I was woken by the friend’s brother lying on top of me. I never told anyone until the Senate hearing. The reason it took me so long to speak out was because I used my own experience to justify why I believed Dr Ford. Those who questioned my belief asked me how old I was, where and when it happened and why I never said anything then. I couldn’t remember, couldn’t answer their queries, couldn’t supply details. All I could remember was him lying on top of me. So no, I’m not a “supporter” of Dr Ford but I empathise with her because of my own valid experience. I’ve no reason to make this up, no political bias, I just know what happened and can never forget.

Today’s opinion

Inside Business: Brexit uncertainty puts stockpiling on agenda for UK companies
Warehousing and financing will test businesses’ efforts to keep supply chains moving

Lex: China debt problem: loan lark
Funding from questionable provenance is all too common

Austerity, Brexit and the Bank of England
A no-deal departure from the EU would greatly complicate UK fiscal and monetary policy

Trump’s sugar-rush shows the danger of backward-looking policy
The president’s tax plan is based on a mistaken premise

How to save statistics from the threat of populism
One reason for failing trust is people do not see their lives reflected in figures

Germany’s political centre cannot hold
Other EU countries are also seeing support leaking away from established parties

Superstar companies also feel the threat of disruption
Turnover at the top means market competition may work better than we thought

The big problem with unconscious bias training
Employers’ go-to diversity fix is not all it is cracked up to be

Small Talk — Companies: Patisserie Valerie’s problems put spotlight on Aim tax breaks
Government should examine whether benefits draw the wrong type of investors

FT View

The FT View: China’s slowing economic growth should not be a concern
What is important is the quality and sustainability of development

The FT View: The Budget should spell out Britain’s choices
Hammond should be clear that more spending will mean higher taxes

The Big Read

The Big Read: WTO suffers collateral damage from Trump and China
With its rule book undermined by Beijing and its judicial arm criticised by the US, can the body restore its reputation?

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