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Modern world leaders are just walking cliches
News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 30/07/2019
» One of the most striking things about Boris Johnson, who became UK prime minister, is how precisely he fits the stereotype of the eccentric upper-class Brit. With his elevation, Britain joins several major nations led by people who embody their national stereotypes and not the best of them at that. However, it could be argued that it's leaders defying such cliches who take their countries forward.
Is there a case for universal basic income?
News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 11/02/2019
» The first results of Finland's two-year experiment with a universal basic income are in, and if they're confirmed by further research, they will probably hurt the unconditional income cause. The trial run showed that "money for nothing" makes people happier but doesn't inspire them to find work any more than traditional unemployment benefits would.
A Brexit lesson from the cradle of democracy
News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 16/01/2019
» The Macedonian parliament's vote to rename the country and thus remove the biggest obstacle to its integration into Western institutions is evidence that intractable political issues are best resolved through the traditional backroom dealings of representative democracy rather than through the direct expression of popular will.
Putin lacks the clout to cut isles deal with Abe
News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 24/01/2019
» The window of opportunity for Russia and Japan to officially end World War II with a peace treaty narrowed again after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Moscow on Tuesday failed to end in a breakthrough. There's still time for Mr Abe to secure his legacy, but a lot depends on President Vladimir Putin's increasingly shaky domestic standing.
Give people a chance to sell their data to FB
News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 01/02/2019
» It's easy to be outraged by the revelation that Facebook has been paying users between the ages of 13 and 35 up to US$20 (624 baht) a month to allow practically unlimited access to their smartphone usage data. But outrage about the social media giant is so 2017. The latest dubious practice could be an opportunity to consider a more finely tuned business model.
The year of the woeful world leaders
News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 28/12/2018
» The dictionaries have decided on their 2018 words of the year. Oxford picked "toxic". Merriam-Webster went for "justice". Collins chose "single-use". However, I'd zero in on "misgovernment". Surely, 2018 saw a number of countries misruled by the worst crop of world leaders in recent memory.
How to stick it to Europe: scrap Brexit
News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 06/12/2018
» The top European court now is highly likely to rule that the UK can cancel Brexit unilaterally. For all the domestic political hurdles such a move would face, it's intriguing to ponder how Europe would take it if the UK did cancel Brexit, and what the consequences would be for the European Union.
Yes, Russia abused Facebook. But did it actually work?
News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 20/12/2018
» Russia's propaganda operations during the 2016 US presidential election were broader than previously thought, according to two recently published studies. But they don't provide proof the influence campaign was as effective as the Kremlin may have hoped. Both reports, based on data provided by social networks, combine a distrust of the companies' disclosures and a naive trust in the metrics they tout.
Merkel tries not to go out with a bang
News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 16/11/2018
» It could have been a call for decisive action by a leader no longer tethered by domestic politics. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel's appearance at the European Parliament on Tuesday was nothing of the sort: Ms Merkel unbound is the same cautious, gradualist Merkel.
Don't write off Merkel prematurely
News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 31/10/2018
» I have warned repeatedly against writing off German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she faced challenge after challenge in recent years. I'm going to issue another such warning now, even though it might seem counter-intuitive given her announcement on Monday that she will give up the leadership of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in December and not run for a parliamentary seat in 2021.
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