Longitude #73

July, 2017


Cover story

Is social media about to burst?
by Stefano Cingolani

Markets are jittery about what they sense is the end of the social media bubble. Whatever happens, though, the new tech giants are in the process of a full-scale takeover of the old economy.

Follow the bubble
map by Marie Joveneau
Bubbles and echo chambers
by Giuseppe Alessandro Veltri

Social media is a powerful tool for communication. When it comes to news, however, the platform has a natural tendency to spread whatever people like to hear. Hence, the phenomenon of fake news.

Soul traders
by Enrico Verga

The new hi-tech giants are monetizing everything in our animated lives that distinguishes us as individuals. The potential of such information is enormous and a race is on to exploit our very essence.

Start-ups and government
by Maurizio Stefanini

The high-tech industry is moving so fast that leaders are forced to encourage startup businesses. But the nature of startups is evolving so quickly that it remains to be seen whether the government can make an impact before the bubble bursts.

The best ship is the one with the best crew
by Roberto Spingardi

In the new context of Industry 4.0 what is proving to be essential is the development of a new Manager 4.0, one who can integrate the old with the new.

Climate change

Climate coalition: from G-7 to G-3
by Corrado Clini

If Donald Trump announced that the US would pull out of the Paris Accord, it was also in large part because European countries refused to negotiate with the US, thus shooting themselves in the foot.

Oil glut

A slippery equilibrium
by Laura Painelli

The oil market has been trying to find a way to counterbalance a severe drop in prices. With a continued glut, OPEC countries have struggled to find an agreement among themselves and with non-OPEC countries to cut production. 

Featured briefing

Let's make a deal
by Gabriele Carrer

The UK is adrift and Theresa May is now isolated. She wanted a mandate for a hard Brexit and now she’ll have trouble maintaining support. If she survives, any deal with the EU will require taking a softer route.

The Tories and their May-be blues
by Antonio Armellini

A series of crucial self-inflicted wounds have hobbled Britain’s Conservative Party just at the time when the opposition Labour seemed incapable of getting up off the ground.

by Stash Luczkiw

Some British citizens consider themselves at war with the British government. While they may represent an extremist minority, their impact on the UK’s cherished secular culture cannot be ignored.


Steering a theocratically powered machine
by Shahram Bahadori

Few expected such a resounding victory for the moderates. Now Iran’s Hassan Rouhani can move more decisively in the direction that conservatives had opposed. The hostility from the Trump administration is only an additional hurdle to overcome.

The Orientalist

Iran's duplicity
by Ugo Tramballi

The nuclear deal was supposed to bring Iran back into the fold of cooperative nations. In a sense it has, but Tehran has also interpreted the accord as assent for wielding a free hand in other areas of the region.


Giving back what’s been gained
by Elena Di Giovanni

Philanthropy is an essential element of any civilized society. The new connections between Europe and the United States should help increase private initiatives that serve to take the weight off many over-burdened welfare states.

International law

How to deal with globalized crime
by Ranieri Razzante

As the world becomes more globalized, so does organized crime and terrorism. Governments must now strive to adapt their laws to the new realities and technologies which the illegal organizations have already begun to exploit.


Building the brand of a nation
by Gianluca Comin

In order to make the most of a country’s potential, it is very helpful to project a brand that outsiders can relate to on an emotional level. But different countries will necessarily require different approaches.

Warming bloopers

An inconvenient activist
by Carlo Clini

Al Gore is back in the spotlight with his cause célèbre: the perils of climate change. His new documentary is out, and 
it comes at a moment when the world’s largest economy 
is reconsidering its commitments.