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James Ferguson Web

When America’s vice-president Mike Pence set out his aims for US-China relations this month, he pulled no punches. After berating China for a long list of transgressions — including interfering in US politics, stealing its intellectual property, plotting cyber attacks and persisting with a culture of censorship — Mr Pence concluded that what was needed was a total reset of the relationship. One that “finally put America first”.

In his column, Martin Wolf weighs the likelihood of a coming US-China cold war, along the lines of the conflict between the Soviet Union and the US. Whether or not it is correct to use that redolent phrase to describe the current clash, Martin concludes that, cold war or not, this threat is just as serious and damaging as what went before.

The US needs to realise that, unlike the Soviet Union, China is not its ideological rival, argues Martin. It is also a vital partner. Keeping the world economy stable and managing climate change will require the two powers to work together, even as strategic competitors.

Sarah O’Connor takes a look at a lesser known aspect of the gig economy: the rise of a global marketplace for labour. Policymakers should be taking action now to shape the future of this new world of work while it is in its infancy, she advises.

Gregory Davis argues that we should not blame index funds and ETFs for the current market volatility. The chief investment officer of Vanguard says scaremongering about crashes ignores the long-term success of diversified investments.

Jude Webber recounts her experience of walking with the caravan of Honduran migrants who are currently making their way towards the US border in pursuit of the American dream. Their predicament echoes that of the migrants of the Great Depression.

What you’ve been saying

Referendum questions shouldn’t be too complex: letter from Andrew Seton, Oxford, UK

Chris Giles is right to challenge Theresa May about her lack of concern for what Britain today thinks of Brexit but I wonder about the number of questions — three — that he would pose on a ballot paper in any hypothetical second referendum. In truth, I do not think any sane UK government can — ever — ask UK citizens if they desire a no-deal scenario as one of the outcomes. It would be like asking them if they want to vote for very obvious uncertainty, for being forced to improvise the rules, indeed for an absence of the rule of established law in the conduct of vital near-abroad relations.

In response to “Philip Hammond applies the no-deal Brexit frighteners”, Prester John says:

We are walking away. No doubt we will still buy their Prosecco and BMWs, and they will buy our whisky. But will they still source their motor industry supply chains through the UK rather than Spain or eastern Europe. Who knows? But our opportunities there can only get worse, the only redeeming feature being the exchange rate fuelled decline in our national wealth and income which will keep some of our costs down.

Nicotine in all its forms needs to be controlled: letter from Prof Sir Denis Pereira Gray, Former Chairman, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges

The vaping industry associations (Letters) support vaping, giving one side of the story. The other side is based on five facts. The active ingredient in vaping is nicotine. Nicotine is addictive. Nicotine adversely affects the developing brain and in adolescents is associated with an increased risk of mood and attention disorder. In the US in 2011 under 2 per cent of high school students reported using ecigarettes in the previous month. However, by 2015 this percentage had risen to 16 per cent. Nicotine in all its forms should be carefully controlled.

Today’s opinion

US must avoid a new cold war with China
Rivalry must be managed sensibly to protect the world’s future

Inside Business: How Indigo built an unassailable position in Indian aviation
Clear market leader has invested heavily while maintaining sound finances and a reputation for service

How to manage the gig economy’s growing global jobs market
Platforms focus on remote service sector work — think of eBay for human labour

Do not blame index funds and ETFs for market volatility
Scaremongering about crashes ignores the long-term success of diversified investments

Non-disclosure agreements, management and the exercise of power
Overriding gagging orders are not always in employees’ interests

On the migrant trail with the Hondurans chasing the American dream
The caravan heading for the US has the desperate feel of the Great Depression

Instant Insight: UK follows in the footsteps of Donald Trump on digital tax
The US president’s offshore overhaul spurs other countries to action

FT View

The FT View: The quest for a fairer way to tax the tech giants
The UK chancellor is right to highlight weaknesses in the system

The FT View: A Balkans plan that merits cautious backing
Proposed Kosovo-Serbia agreement has risks but could bring benefits

The Big Read

The Big Read: How the Irish border backstop became Brexit’s defining issue
Brussels’ support for Dublin’s plans to avoid a hard border is the result of two years of painstaking diplomacy

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