LATEST NEWS FROM PARTNER CAP X
10 March 2017
Where was the Chancellor's reforming zeal? - The capitalist who knew capitalism was only a third of what we need - Japan has much to lose from a US-China bust-up - Why the West can’t let Afghanistan go
Today, Philip Hammond delivered what was perhaps the dullest Budget in living memory, with none of the razzmatazz and giveaways of the Brown/Osborne eras. This is clearly the way he wants it, emphasising steady economic competency in a time of uncertainty. But the worry is that, by keeping their powder dry for Brexit, ministers fail to address Britain's current economic problems - and opportunities.
Michael Novak, who died last month, realised that capitalism was as much about families and institutions as it was about figures and bottom lines. This won him plaudits from Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II and others. With capitalism too often seen as just an excuse for the rich to line their pockets, those who still believe in its merits must now take up his arguments.
With its more aggressive neighbours on manoeuvres, it's no wonder Japan is pleased that Trump has effectively put China on warning. However, military shows of strength aren't the only things Shinzo Abe should be concerned about. With the White House yet to formalise its East Asian policy, and a potential trade war on Japan's doorstep, it may be the new US administration that needs taming rather than those who are sabre rattling closer to home.
The Western powers have been trying to fix Afghanistan for 15 years, without much success. With the Taliban on the march again and hundreds of thousands of Afghans fleeing to Europe, it might be tempting to stop throwing good money after bad. The problem is that if the West does decide to stop propping up Ashraf Ghani's government, things are liable to get much worse very quickly.
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