Jonathan Derbyshire: One of the unfortunate side-effects of the Brexit debate in Britain, argues Gideon Rachman in his latest column, is that it has turned political analysts into the equivalent of football fans. Both Leavers and Remainers are incapable of viewing events in Europe except through the distorting optic of their own partisan allegiances.
Pro-Europeans see the election of Emmanuel Macron in France as evidence that populism has been vanquished. Europhobes, meanwhile, find support for their view that the EU is collapsing in the secessionist crisis in Catalonia.
The truth, Gideon writes, is more nuanced. While the European economy is reviving, there are long-term questions about the EU project that have still to be answered.
Since taking power in 2014, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has sought to build the country’s manufacturing capacity by cutting barriers to foreign investment. But, writes Mary Lovely, he now seems to have reversed course. By hiking tariffs on imports, Mr Modi is risking India’s access to vital supply chains.
The technocratic temptation
Many of the denizens of Silicon Valley believe that technology is capable of solving almost any problem. There are echoes in this view, notes John Thornhill, of the “technocracy” movement that flourished in the 1930s. The history of this “revolt of the engineers” throws light, John argues, on the relationship between technology and politics today.
The perils of optimism
Liberal optimism of the kind propounded by the cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker might be intellectually respectable, argues Janan Ganesh, but it makes for terrible politics. The problem with technocratic centre ground, Janan writes, is that it leaves people hungry for more fulfilling ideologies. – Financial Times