Italy’s referendum is a choice between stagnation and catastrophe

The Italian referendum this Sunday is ostensibly to approve or reject the constitutional reforms passed by parliament in April. But it is far more important than that. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has effectively turned it into a vote of confidence - and given the parlous state of the country's accounts, he will be judged specifically on his economic performance. Consequently, the result will either shore up or shake Italy’s current political framework, to possibly devastating effect. It's no wonder the rest of Europe is watching nervously.

Fidel Castro and the wilful blindness of the Left

Even though he oversaw the impoverishment of his country, the immiseration and isolation of his people, and the torture of political dissidents, former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro has been lauded by Jeremy Corbyn as "an internationalist and a champion of social justice". This shouldn't be entirely surprising, given what we know of the Labour leader's hard-Left leanings. Nonetheless, the logic by which he justifies the sentiment is extraordinary. It is surely time for a little self-examination.

Skyscanner’s sale shows Britain is open to Chinese business

The sale of one of the UK's leading tech companies to a Chinese rival has been greeted with raised eyebrows. But it is welcome news. With other Western countries imposing restrictions on Chinese takeovers, Britain's more liberal policies make it ideally placed to attract investment - especially important as it looks to replace its ties to Europe with links to higher-growth parts of the world.

Meet Johannesburg’s unlikely new 'capitalist crusader'

Herman Mashaba has broken several moulds. Johannesburg's mayor is the first since apartheid not to come from within the ruling ANC party, and the first to be born not into wealth but in a township. Mashaba therefore represents not just a capitalism of opportunity and prosperity, but a threat to the corrupt ruling class. And if successful, he could be the spearhead for a wider pro-market movement within South Africa.

The pursuit of Danish happiness

Denmark has ranked first in the World Happiness Report for three years out of the last five. What is it that makes Danes so happy? Average household disposable income is considerably less than the OECD average - but that's partly because they spend significantly fewer hours in the office, with an average working week of only 37.3 hours. Is it this that makes them happy - or are there other factors at work?


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