Monday 2 July 2018 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Monday. 2/7/2018

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images


Promise land

As predicted, Andrés Manuel López Obrador surged to victory in yesterday’s election in Mexico, riding on a wave of popularity from policies that pledge to put Mexico first. In a country facing adversity – corruption, poverty and extreme levels of violence – Amlo has successfully styled himself as a transformative figure who can address all the above with a number of sharp reforms and common-sense policies. On a theoretical level, Amlo’s ideas might make sense. For instance, his promises of infrastructure improvements, free education for the young and a bigger pensions pot for the elderly won’t come from taxing citizens but from the savings that come as a direct result of his bid to cut corruption. In reality, numbers such as these may not add up as neatly as Amlo or his supporters would like. Rather than promising the world, Amlo should take steps to free up the country’s press and improve the rule of law, which was criticised by the Financial Action Task Force at the start of the year. Now the real work begins.

Image: Getty Images


Balancing act

Hard-working South Koreans can finally put their feet up as a new 52-hour workweek comes into force. Though this may sound like a slog to Europeans used to a 40-hour week, it’s a huge improvement on South Korea’s existing 68-hour cap. The new laws have been ushered in by president Moon Jae-in. The former labour and human-rights lawyer has made work-life balance a priority for his administration, alongside raising the minimum wage and protecting irregular employees. “The era when the key to success is working non-stop is over,” Moon told Monocle during an interview earlier this year. “We now need to put the people’s happiness first.” Quality of life has been creeping up the Korean agenda as the Asian tiger nears an important milestone: average incomes are set to exceed €26,000 this year. Moon’s next challenge this summer: getting desk-bound Koreans to take a holiday.

Image: Getty Images


Party time

The ongoing spat between Canada and the US – the most fraught chapter in the countries’ recent history – may have worried some of late but it is unlikely to have dampened yesterday’s Canada Day celebrations. The festivities continue today as the country enjoys a bank holiday and many Canadians count their blessings in spite of their orange-faced neighbour. Canada’s economy continues to outperform many of its western counterparts – driven by a broad array of sectors, from artificial intelligence to green technology, as well as film and TV production. Prime minister Justin Trudeau’s lauded immigration policies continue to cast the country in a positive light abroad, even if his popularity has dipped at home. The Great White North, despite a few hiccups, has much to celebrate.

Image: Getty Images


Sochi’s life

Olympic sites have a bad reputation for being overlooked once the crowds disperse. After the Russian government ploughed €43bn into Sochi for the Winter Olympics in 2014, some feared it would be similarly forgotten. But as Sochi hosts another major international sporting event, the 2018 Fifa World Cup, it is clear that such fears were unfounded. Sochi has become a popular tourist destination for Russians, who bask in the gentle waters of the Black Sea, head for the mountains and sample Caucasus-inspired cuisine. Surf Coffee serves excellent brews while mixologists at Khudozhestvennyy prepare cocktails in a former art studio. Sochifornia – a popular Instagram tag and the name of a local café – is moving beyond its Soviet past to capitalise on the Olympic legacy. With world-class sporting infrastructure and hosting rights to the annual Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix, Sochi is having its time in the sun.

Quality of Life

This week we speak to Monocle’s editor in chief Tyler Brûlé in Zürich for Monocle’s fourth Quality of Life Conference, plus how to be a good columnist with Karen Krizanovich and James Mullinger from ‘The Maritime Edit’.

Monocle Films / Poland

Officer class: Poland’s military university

Monocle Films visits Poland’s land forces academy, which is nurturing the next generation of officers to fuel its expanding defence forces.


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