Experimental feature

Listen to this article

00:00
00:00
Experimental feature

Tens of thousands of people marched through Paris last week to mourn the death of Mireille Knoll, a Holocaust survivor murdered in her home. In London a few days earlier, Jews rallied outside the Houses of Parliament against anti-Semitism in the Labour party.

Are we reliving the 1930s? Not quite, writes Gideon Rachman in his latest column. Contemporary anti-Semitism has some distinctive features, Gideon notes, mixing hatred of Jews with arguments about Israel and Islam. And what is more, this is a virus that breeds on both the far left and far right.

Identity politics at either extreme provides fertile soil in which anti-Semitism can bloom. The best antidote, Gideon concludes, is a strenuous reassertion of the liberal principle that individual citizens, Jews and Muslims alike, are equal before the law.

May’s miracle:
After the botched general election campaign last summer, and amid Brexit-related ructions inside the Conservative party, Theresa May’s position appeared precarious to say the least. But, Janan Ganesh argues, the outlook for the prime minister suddenly looks rather sunnier. A reminder, perhaps, that the British have always loved an underdog.

© Daniel Pudles

Arguing about abortion:
Catholic conservatives across Europe are watching closely, writes Agnieszka Graff, as the Polish government tries to make already strict rules on abortion even stricter. But only 15 per cent of Poles support the proposed changes, despite the outsize role that the Church has historically played, and continues to play, in Polish society.

Rise of the superstars:
For centuries, prices have worked as the most effective signalling mechanism in the economy. But what, asks John Thornhill, if data replace prices? The winners, John suggests, would be “superstar” firms like Google and Amazon. And the losers? Traditional companies which don’t know how to exploit the informational advantages of data.

Best of the rest

Of course the ultras are afraid: their Brexit now looks toxic — Polly Toynbee in The Guardian

Liberals are well aware of the capacity for evil — EJ Dionne Jr in The Washington Post

Macron reforms: competition doesn’t always lead to the best or most harmonious outcome — Gérard Fonouni in Le Monde (in French)

Honoring Martin Luther King Jr., fifty years after his death — Jelani Cobb in the New Yorker

Will China really supplant US economic hegemony? — Kenneth Rogoff for Project Syndicate

What you’ve been saying

Fintech is central to Nigeria’s future — letter from Uzoma Dozie:

The dynamism of Lagos and its role in driving economic growth and development across the whole of Nigeria is often overlooked by western media still labouring under an outdated and stereotypical view of the country. While it is heartening to see that this image is finally changing, it is imperative that the political leaders of Lagos, and Nigeria as a whole, seize the opportunity presented by the emergence of this more enlightened view. Central to this opportunity is an acceleration in the development of a modern banking and financial services sector. 

Comment by Poorbuthappy on “The rise of the information economy threatens traditional companies“:

I quite like the idea of making data itself as transparent as possible and making the processing of the data into true information that can be monetized or used by government or charitable / NGO’s to create value . . . It would be the processing that would generate value . . . The analogy would be in telecoms where the infrastructure providers are essentially utilities acting as tax gatherers for the governments and with an effectively “controlled” profitability: currently the current FANGS are gathering data through the telecoms infrastructure and, behind their walls, using it to create value. If these data gatherers are themselves legislated to provide this data available for third parties — as is apparently the case in the German auto insurance market — and have to compete to provide value-adding services then data gathering could be better controlled and taxed, perhaps on a national basis where the data has been collected — wouldn’t that be annoying for the Silicon Valley big boys? — and the chances are that the true value of competing service / information providers could be better measured and give better value to the end users.

An opportunity to make arguments fit for purpose — letter from Prof Chris Rowley

Philipp Goedeking takes the unusual position for the Financial Times of not seeing Brexit as “good or bad”, “black or white” or a “zero-sum game” but rather as something that may have both costs and benefits for both sides. Second, it reminds us that a less frequently mentioned byproduct of Brexit is the possibility of allowing the necessary modernising and updating of agreements and rules to make them better fit for purpose rather than continuing with antiquated, complex deals from a bygone era of flight. Rather than trying to stick to existing, traditional and formulaic positions, the Brexit negotiators need to recognise this point better and grasp the opportunities emerging with more flexibility and innovative thinking.

Today’s opinion

Maladroit Theresa May’s remarkable survival
A prime minister who had lived hand to mouth has eked out time and space to breathe

Anti-Semitism and the threat of identity politics
Today, hatred of Jews is mixed in with fights about Islam and Israel

Italy’s violent extremist past haunts the populist present
The 40th anniversary of Aldo Moro’s killing is a chance to reflect on a turbulent era

Poland’s abortion ban is a test case for the Catholic Church Religious conservatives across Europe will be watching the outcome closely

FT Alphaville: No, America would not benefit from authoritarian central planning 

The rise of the information economy threatens traditional companies
A ‘data tax’ on Google, Facebook and Amazon would stimulate real competition

Salman’s Legacy, edited by Madawi al-Rasheed
Collection of essays is a valuable report on crown prince’s revolution in Saudi Arabia

FT View

FT View: Deutsche Bank’s troubles are more than personal
The bank is not providing leadership for Europe’s capital markets

FT View: NHS funding pledge is a step in the right direction
Real increases in resources are also needed to improve social care

The Big Read

The Big Read: Sunni Saudi Arabia courts an ally in Iraq’s Shia
Can the kingdom and its reconstruction aid overcome distrust between Islamic sects? 

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

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.