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The best way out of the Brexit mess - The case for a second referendum
"Today’s paralysis is the result of Britain’s inability to reconcile its tradition of representative democracy with its more recent experiments in the direct sort."


"A second referendum would cause lasting resentment and would fuel populist parties peddling the stab-in-the-back theory. Yet to rule it out on this basis ignores how any softish Brexit deal would also be denounced as a betrayal and a sell-out. Hardline Leavers describe Mrs May’s plan as “vassalage”, a “national humiliation” and a “cheating” of those who voted to leave. Likewise, the belief that approving the deal will get the whole divisive episode over and done with ignores the fact that, after Brexit day, Britain faces perhaps a decade of trade negotiations with the eu, involving more of the painful trade-offs between prosperity and control that the public have grown so sick of. All the while, the country will be falling further behind its potential. It is true that a second referendum would cause lasting anger and undermine faith in politics. But so would pushing through a deal in the name of the people amid evidence that the people were unconvinced.

Brexit is often likened to a divorce. In fact the two years since the referendum have been more like a rocky engagement. Voters were swept off their feet by the promises of the Leave campaign, only to discover that the future relationship was not going to be as they had imagined. Calling it off would be mortifying. Yet seeing it through could be a serious, permanent mistake. If the British are determined to plough on, that is their right. But now that they know what Brexit really means, they deserve the chance to say whether they still want it."
brexit  uk  politics  economist 
2 days ago by np
The problem with “Roma”
“Roma” is one of the most lauded films of the year. Universally praised by critics, it won the Golden Lion, the top prize at Venice, and it is tipped to appear both in the Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film categories at the Oscars. If there is anything wrong with it, it may be that Mr Cuarón reveres his central character so much that he ends up distancing himself from her. That is, he is so determined to view Cleo as an angel that he doesn’t always view her as a human being. The film is not just beautiful, it is carefully, self-consciously beautiful in a way that seems designed to inspire religious awe. A heart-stoppingly tense scene on a beach ends with Cleo, Sofia and the children huddled together in the sand, with the setting sun positioned precisely behind them. It is a stunning example of Mr Cuarón’s mastery of timing and staging, but the heavenly lighting and the pietà pose turn Cleo almost into a saint. .. patronising portrayal taints Mr Cuarón’s gorgeous and heartfelt film. “Roma” leaves you in no doubt that he worships and adores the self-abnegating woman who was a second mother to him. But as a writer-director, he has a lot in common with the entitled family he depicts: he cannot imagine Cleo wanting to be anything more than a faithful servant.
Economist  movies 
9 days ago by thomas.kochi
China’s two-child policy is having unintended consequences
the government’s announcement in late 2015 that it was relaxing the policy, after 35 years, was good news. Yet the two-child-per-couple policy that replaced it may bring different kinds of problems. Officials are encouraging childbirth because they worry that the fertility rate (the number of children a woman can expect to have during her lifetime) has sunk well below 2.1, the level required to keep the population stable in the long term.Decades of being told that small families are glorious has not helped. Helen Gao, a 30-year-old writer who works at China Policy, a think-tank in Beijing, says that having one child has become an ideal in China, just as some Americans might regard a couple with two children and a dog as the perfect-sized unit.75% of companies were more reluctant to hire women after the two-child policy took effect.Over the past two years most Chinese provinces have extended paid leave beyond the 98-day minimum mandated under national law,southern province of Jiangxi became the latest of several local authorities to say that it would start requiring women who are more than 14 weeks pregnant to secure the approval of three doctors in order to procure an abortion. Health officials have taken to discouraging women from having Caesarean sections, arguing that they increase the risk of complications during a second pregnancy. Chinese courts are also beginning to tighten divorce rules by enforcing “cooling-off” periods after applications are filed—including, say critics, in some cases where a woman’s safety might be at risk.Whether the government is restricting family sizes or trying to boost them, “it is always about control,” says Mei Fong, a journalist and the author of “One Child”, a book about China’s family-planning policies.
Economist  China  population  policy 
10 days ago by thomas.kochi
The World in 2019 - Who Killed Brexit
As disappointment sets in, the search for a culprit will begin.
economist  uk  politics 
13 days ago by robward
The World in 2019 - The real scandal of voting fraud
Laurene Powell Jobs, founder and president of Emerson Collective, calls for a resurgence of public pressure in defence of voting rights
economist  usa  politics  society 
13 days ago by robward
Ageing Japan
In Japan there are approximately 400,000 more deaths than births every year and over 28% of the population is older than 65, compared with 15% in America. The demographic crunch is creating labour sho...
Economist  Japan  from notes
16 days ago by thomas.kochi
We're recruiting for a PhD-level (Senior) to support our work rigorously evaluating the and cost…
Economist  impact  from twitter_favs
25 days ago by Varna
The papacy is working hard to combat the sex trade
EVEN THE Holy See’s greatest defenders would acknowledge this much: this is not an easy time for the Vatican to be burnishing its credentials as a defender of vulnerable youngsters from exploitation. As a colleague wrote recently, there is good reason to expect the fallout from clerical abuse scandals to get worse.But, in what is one of the great paradoxes of the current papacy, Pope Francis has repeatedly returned to the issue of people-trafficking, and the closely related problem of sexual exploitation, especially of minors. In the thinking of the Vatican, the manipulation of vulnerable individuals for the sex trade is the epitome of a darkly materialistic age, when everything can be monetised and intangible values are cast aside. Over and above these philosophical assertions, it is acknowledged by people who work in the field (including those who are far from the church) that Catholic-inspired projects and charities have a role to play in combating people-trafficking and the sex trade, one that cannot easily be matched by their secular counterparts.Over and above these philosophical assertions, it is acknowledged by people who work in the field (including those who are far from the church) that Catholic-inspired projects and charities have a role to play in combating people-trafficking and the sex trade, one that cannot easily be matched by their secular counterparts.Whatever motivates the individuals involved in these Christian charities (who may be religious professionals or lay-people, devout or otherwise), it is probably not the desire to improve the Holy See’s image, or even to put into practice some theological principle about the dignity of the human person. There is simply a job to be done and they get on with it.Vatican has other failings. Here, at least, it is sincere
catholic  Economist  charity  Vatican  pope 
26 days ago by thomas.kochi
How airports use biometric technology - The Economist explains
Airlines want to speed up the boarding process with facial-recognition software
artificialintelligence  economist 
29 days ago by jorgebarba

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