The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 26 September 2018

Politics

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Title fight

If Macedonia ends up with a new name this Sunday, expect some choice name-calling from the naysayers.

A semantic set-to is ramping up in European politics this week as Macedonia prepares for a referendum on its name change – from Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia. It is hoped that an amicable vote in favour of the latter this Sunday will settle a 27-year dispute with Greece and yield a couple of geopolitical prizes, namely membership of Nato and the EU. But not everyone is keen: a protest rally is expected to take place in Skopje tomorrow, while main opposition party VMRO-DPMNE has declared the name change an act of treason and threatened to boycott the referendum. What’s in a name? Rather a lot, it would seem

Economy

Image: Getty Images

Downward turn

A new study reveals a link between a country’s investment in its citizens’ wellbeing and its economic growth – so it’s a pity that the US is letting things slide.

A new report by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Washington is trying to ascertain how a country’s human capital – its citizens’ health, skills, knowledge, experience and habits – impacts its economy. Drawing on data from 1990 to 2016, it looked at how nations’ varying commitment to the above have impacted wealth and published a ranking of how successful each has been at leveraging its human capital. The report yielded some surprising – and not so surprising – results. The countries that had the biggest commitment to human capital were Finland, Iceland and Denmark. Asian countries had invested more since the 1990s and climbed the rankings. But the biggest loser was the US, dropping from sixth place in 1990 to 27th in 2016. The reason? Its flagging investment in education.

Art

Action replay

A London exhibition of this year’s Turner prize nominees has taken a political turn.

For more than 30 years the annual gong has thumbed its nose at the expectations of the art community; at times it’s been praised, at others pilloried. The exhibition of this year’s nominees is no exception, with each of the four film-only entries focusing less on the vagaries of conceptual art and more on storytelling. One entrant that caught our eye is that of Forensic Architecture, a collective of journalists, archaeologists, film-makers and – perhaps predictably given its name – architects, which examines the events surrounding the removal of Bedouins from an unrecognised village in southern Israel by heavy-handed police. Admire it or mock it, the prize’s political focus is an artful turn – but the medium of film? Take that as a message about how we all consume and capture what’s really meaningful.

Society

On good terms

We salute the Toronto event that has been championing peace, love and understanding between nations.

While nativism and isolation sweep the world, Canada has remained committed to its principles of open immigration and inclusion – and they have been on display this week at Toronto’s 6 Degrees Summit. Today marks the end of the event, where notions of citizenship and democracy have been explored via a series of lectures and panels over the course of three days. The summit is held by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship and this year’s experts included Sue Gardner, formerly executive director of Wikimedia, who addressed the challenges that technology poses for democratic institutions. This evening the 2018 Adrienne Clarkson prize for global citizenship will be awarded to famed author Margaret Atwood, whose lifetime of writing has displayed a commitment to tolerance and inclusion.

From Monocle 24

Image: Getty Images

‘California Captured’

On Design

We make for the sun-soaked hills of southern California to examine the post-war modernist architecture boom (and mine a few lessons for today). Plus: Josh Fehnert talks to Katie Tregidden about London Design Festival.

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