Monday, 13 February 2006

I *heart* "The Economist"

I rarely read newspapers (in general, only on airplanes!), but I do love my weekly Economist! Among the many interesting things in last Friday's (non-exhaustive list, these are just highlights!):

- a letter complaining about a previous letter asserting that "Most French officials speak English and studied in British or American colleges". The writer states that "The political world in France is mainly monolingual and parliamentarians do not travel or work abroad much. Apart from the prime minister, the trilingual Dominique de Villepin, you will have trouble finding any French politician who can speak decent English." But, Mr. Guy de Dampierre from Paris, the previous letter was about OFFICIALS, not politicians! My experience is also that there has been an incredible increase in the last 10 years in English-speaking among French officials (fonctionnaires) I have come into contact with - I wouldn't know about French politicians, I have no dealings with those in any language.

- a discussion of low birth rates in Europe (The fertility bust): apparently Germans used to claim their ideal family was 2 children, even though this was not born out by the statistics of what they actually did (fertility rate fell below 2 in 1971 and is now just above 1.3); now, "a quarter of young German men and a fifth of young women say they have no intention of having children and think that this is fine". I wonder whether there has been a change in the questions asked or the way in which these were asked, rather than a change in attitude, as it seems to me that little has changed in terms of actual practice over the last 30 years.

- an interesting comment on the Danish cartoons fiasco, attributed to a royal advisor to King Abdullah of Jordan: "It's sleazy and dangerous for politicians to be scoring points against Islam in a continent where Bosnian Muslims were being put in concentration camps until America intervened." Hmmm.

- a wonderful new (to me) word: "blogorrhea" referring to the 27m blogs that are apparently online and need to be sifted by businesses looking for reports of weaknesses in their products or in products/companies they are thinking of buying (in article "The blog in the corporate machine").

- slightly scary, for me, article about scheduled airlines looking seriously at introducing the sort of charges for check-in bags currently operated by cheap airlines Ryanair and Flybe, which are differentiated depending on whether booked in advance or arriving unannounced at check-in!

- reviews of a couple of books I will have to put on my reading list ("Hunger: An Unnatural History" by Sharman Apt Russell, and "Seven Lies" by E. German writer James Lasdun) and of an exhibition I would have liked to go to, if it wasn't being held in S. Africa, on African influence on Picasso, and finally

- a wonderful obituary of Betty Friedan, which ends "When Mrs Friedan died, that Utopia (equal work, worth and incomes) was still distant. But at least she had made sure that post-war America's Ideal Woman was buried at some suburban crossroads, her hair still unmussed, and with a stake through her perfectly calibrated heart."

Notice that I don't mention any of the articles about politics or economics!


At 14/2/06 04:27, Blogger boo said...

'....her hair still unmussed, and with a stake through her perfectly calibrated heart'

yikes. on that note, happy valentine's day :)

At 15/2/06 11:55, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll read this issue of Economist,Thank you information.


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