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Trust-busting in China: Unequal before the law?

IN RECENT weeks, Chinese authorities appear to have been singling out foreigners in bars around Beijing, harassing them for allegedly breaking the country’s narcotics laws, conducting spot inspections of their bodily fluids and reportedly busting them without due process.

Schumpeter: Got skills?

FOR decades vocational education has suffered from the twin curses of low status and limited innovation.

Obamacare and business: Paternalism 2.0

An online exchange could make it better AMERICAN exceptionalism takes many forms. In the corporate world, one example is particularly odd: companies choose health insurance for their workers.

Music and shopping: Beware of Beethoven

EVER since Muzak started serenading patrons of hotels and restaurants in the 1930s, piped-in music has been part of the consumer experience.

Governing partnerships: Electing the boss

EVER since the inception of the corporation, the “principal-agent” problem has bedevilled shareholders.

Farming in the Netherlands: Polder and wiser

How long until the robots arrive? AT THE entrance to Hoeve Rosa farm, in the southern Dutch province of Limburg, a sign gives a warning that unmanned machines might zoom past.

Business in Nigeria: Africa’s testing ground

IN 2001 MTN, a fledgling telecoms company from South Africa, paid $285m for one of four mobile licences sold at auction by the government of Nigeria.

Viadeo: Nipping at LinkedIn’s heels

LINKEDIN is not the only game in town. With 60m members, Viadeo is the world’s second-biggest professional social network.

State-controlled airlines: Flags of inconvenience

MALAYSIA AIRLINES deserves sympathy. This year Flight MH370 disappeared over the Indian Ocean and MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine.

Schumpeter: Replacing the board

CORPORATE boards are among the most important institutions in capitalism. Their job is to police the relationship between shareholders who own companies and managers who run them.

LinkedIn: Workers of the world, log in

A LOT of room in an office is a sign either of a blossoming company or a shrivelling one. Happily for Frank Han, the empty space at Kenandy, a cloud-computing company in Redwood City, a few miles south of San Francisco, indicates the former.

Kinder Morgan: The reversion of a species

WHEN Charles Darwin landed on the Galapagos Islands in 1835 he found a “world within itself”. Isolated from their mainland ancestors, songbirds had evolved in unexpected ways.

Geothermal energy: Hot rocks

The zigzag route to success DEPENDING on your point of view, hydraulic fracturing—or “fracking”—is either the future of clean, natural gas or an environmental apocalypse.

Buzzfeed and online news: Which media company are you?

WHEN Arianna Huffington sold her online-news firm for $315m in 2011, people gawked at the price tag. Now BuzzFeed, a hipper digital news firm co-founded by Jonah Peretti, a Huffington Post alumnus, has one-upped her.

Unilever: In search of the good business

Unilever’s lifebelt SLEEPING in the open on top of his mansion was a nightly routine for William Lever, founder of what is now Unilever, an Anglo-Dutch consumer-goods giant.

Travel websites: David vs two Goliaths

Service poor, view disappointing “BREAKFAST is nasty, the rooms are nasty.” So complained a reviewer of an Oregon guesthouse earlier this year.

Schumpeter: Leading light

Mergers and acquisitions: Coming unstuck

QUEEN VICTORIA sniffed that “We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat.” For empire-builders in the corporate world, failure is all too common.

Bernie Ecclestone: Irony alert

“I ASSUME”, Judge Peter Noll told the defendant, Bernie Ecclestone, in a Munich court on August 5th, that “we’ll only see each other again on television.” With that Mr Ecclestone, the 83-year-old boss of Formula One motor racing, was free to leave.

Whole Foods Market: Victim of success

... but it’ll cost you THE colourful chalkboards and baskets of fruit that greet customers at the entrances of Whole Foods Market’s shops paint a rosy picture.