Brooke Masters: Chinese intellectuals argue that their country needs strong central leadership, in part because western alternatives have been discredited. Martin Wolf sympathises with their desire for stability and agrees they have a point about the lack of praiseworthy US and European role models. But he has doubts whether the country can really turn itself into a giant version of Singapore.
Martin predicts that China-US relations face a testy year, in part because the Trump administration’s goals for their trade talks make no sense. He points out that the west must recognise that China is an essential partner in ensuring a reasonably co-operative, stable, prosperous and peaceful world.
This weekend’s festivities starring Prince Harry and Meghan Markle highlight the British monarchy’s ability to mix traditional pomp with just enough modernity to make the institution feel relevant to much of the country’s population, writes Frederick Studemann. Though large chunks of the elite profess indifference to the royal nuptials, and in some cases hostility to the monarchy, the rest of the country draws comfort from the ordered permanence symbolised by the Queen.
I am writing about shareholder responsibilities in light of the troubles at WPP. Chief executive Martin Sorrell retired last month, just days after the advertising conglomerate announced it was investigating allegations of “personal misconduct” against him. He denies wrongdoing. Shareholders will be asked next month to approve both the company’s pay plan, which allows him to keep the £14m he earned last year, and the reappointment of the chairman, despite the group’s failure to plan for Sir Martin’s succession. I urge investors to take a more active role and stop rubber stamping executive decisions.
Artificial intelligence programs could finally help the US get a grip on its soaring healthcare costs by allowing machines to do much of the routine diagnosis work. That would allow experts to spend their precious time on more complex cases and those who really need their help, argues William Frist. While rigorous clinical trials and careful supervision are needed, he believes the Food and Drug Administration has taken the right first step by approving a new AI-based system that analyses retinal scans to look for a common cause of blindness. – Financial Times
Brooke Masters has been the FT’s Comment and Analysis Editor since 2018. She has previously served as Companies Editor, Chief Regulation Correspondent, City correspondent and as a contributor to the Lex column. She spent the first part of her career in the US covering a variety of beats including criminal justice, local politics and education for the Washington Post.