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Fanuc stoops to conquer

Oh, look, a human YOSHIHARU INABA, the president of Fanuc, a secretive Japanese maker of industrial robots and machine-tool controllers, has something of importance to say to the outside world.

Gone shopping

“ITALIAN industrial policy is now made in Beijing,” lamented Romano Prodi, a former Italian prime minister, on March 23rd.

Serfs up

THIS week the rank and file of the United Auto Workers union (UAW) met in Detroit under a logo of a clenched fist and the slogan, “It’s our time”.

Land of temples and tech

Blessed with the fruits of modern technology REMARKABLE views greet visitors to Phandeeyar, an open-plan office and events space which sits atop a tower block in the centre of Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city.

The message is the medium

“I PROPOSE, if and when found, to take him by his beastly neck, shake him till he froths, and pull him inside out and make him swallow himself.” It is not often that Silicon Valley’s denizens quote P.G.

Firm beliefs

WHEN Asia plunged into crisis in 1997-98, and the IMF was forcing Western economic medicine down the throats of Asian governments, it was also assumed that the region’s opaque and over-diversified business groups would be compelled to swallow the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism.

In the depths

CHEAP energy matters most to poor people, and the coal industry’s hopes have rested on emerging economies burning the black stuff to fuel their modernisation.

A big bite

WARREN BUFFETT says he likes to buy companies that are easy to understand and are performing well. His latest deal, the $50 billion acquisition of Kraft Foods that was announced on March 25th, passes only one of those tests.

Under the hammer

It’s great, but don’t expect us to pay more for it FEW countries are as congested as India. The roads in its big cities are jammed.

Attack of the bean-counters

CONSULTING has its Big Three; accounting the Big Four; and executive search a Big Five. But there is no corresponding clutch of dominant law firms.

The autumn of Sumner

The man who is Viacom “VIACOM is me. I’m Viacom. That marriage is eternal, for ever,” Sumner Redstone, a media mogul, once said about his firm.

The business of business

IN 2000 two American law professors, Henry Hansmann of Yale University and Reinier Kraakman of Harvard, pronounced that the most hotly-contested debate in corporate law had been resolved.

Low rates on the high seas

OLD salts interpret low-flying seabirds as a sure sign that a storm approaches. For some observers the Baltic Dry Index (BDI), which tracks the cost of shipping iron ore, coal, grain and other materials, is delivering much the same message about the global economy as a wave-skimming albatross.


RICHARD ELMAN has lived quite a life. He began as a scrap-metal trader in London, then found himself trading commodities in Hong Kong in the 1970s.

It’s an ill wind that blows no good

THE world economy is on the mend, according to executives surveyed in the latest quarterly poll of 1,500 senior managers carried out for The Economist and the Financial Times by the Economist Intelligence Unit, our sister company.

On the cards

THE details may vary. Americans sling their business cards casually across a table; the Japanese make the exchange of cards as elaborate as a tea ceremony.

The wear, why and how

“IN THE beginning was Apple. All things were made by it; and without it was not anything made that was made.” If technophiles were to write their own Testament, these might be the opening lines.

Tomorrow, not quite the world

Piling it high, selling it cheap IN GROCERY, at least, globalisation has met its match. Many of the most illustrious names in the business have had to retreat from disastrous forays abroad.

Home-field advantage

TROPICAL rain pounds on the roof of a cavernous warehouse near Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital. Inside, youngsters in orange T-shirts haul around clothes, luggage and electrical goods for Lazada, an e-commerce firm, which has just moved in.

Brush with the law

Head-scratcher, and Mr Bouvier ANY billionaire with a weakness for Picasso or Gauguin will know Yves Bouvier.