Chess What is an audit for?

AUDITS get noticed only when things go wrong. Last week British MPs issued a scathing attack on KPMG, an auditor, for failing to avert the collapse of Carillion, a contracting company. South African authorities are looking into Deloitte’s audit of Steinhoff, a re


Chess Why even bears about the government-bond market can find merit in Treasuries

JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH, a quotable economist, observed that one of the deeper mysteries is why, in a falling market, there is still a buyer for every seller. It is a conundrum that bond investors must now contemplate. Since January the yield on a ten-year Treasury


Chess American firms reveal the gulf between bosses’ and workers’ pay

HOW much should company bosses be paid relative to their employees? It depends who you ask. Plato argued that the richest members of society should earn no more than four times the pay of the poorest. John Pierpont Morgan, a banker from America’s gilded age, reck


Chess As Tesla’s share price falls, it becomes an inviting takeover target

A RECENT tweet from Elon Musk, the boss of Tesla, an electric-car firm, shows footage of a Model X undergoing rollover testing. The SUV is propelled rapidly sideways on a trolley before encountering a sand trap that stops it suddenly, tipping the car. The Tesla tee


Chess Labour laws in 104 countries reserve some jobs for men only

EVEN as rich countries seek to rid workplaces of subtle gender bias, in many developing ones discrimination remains overt. According to the World Bank, women are barred from certain jobs in 104 countries (see map).“Gender equality in labour law is associated with


Chess How kidnapping insurance keeps a lid on ransom inflation

IN THE early 1970s, leftist guerrillas in Argentina discovered a lucrative new way to make money: kidnap millionaires. Panicking firms would agree to huge ransoms, more concerned with freeing their executives than driving down the fee. That was not just bad for bus


Chess Tailor shops are a thriving pocket of enterprise in Pyongyang

No ordinary fashion statementWALK down the streets of Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, and at first sight the passers-by look rather uniform. The women are in tidy skirt suits and medium-high heels. The men sport variations on the theme of the jacket and wide tr


Chess Who will be the main loser from Europe’s new data-privacy law?

“PLEASE don’t leave us.” From the dozens of e-mails in people’s inboxes, begging them to give their consent to be sent further messages, you could deduce that the senders of newsletters and the like are hardest hit by the European Union’s tough new privac


Chess European firms are increasingly tackling the scourge of bribery

ONE of the more extreme recent cases of corporate bribery is that of LafargeHolcim, a giant Swiss-French cement-maker which was accused in 2016 of funnelling money to armed groups controlling roads and checkpoints around a factory in Syria. The firm still cannot be


Chess Petrobras shares plunge after surprise diesel price cut



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