Is the idea of progress dead? Alain Finkielkraut, the French philosopher, says that as we approach the millennium, our faith in progress remains undimmed, while progress itself has died.
Venice was once a city of velvet and marble-now it is tense with clingfilm, the most useless city in Italy. Duncan Fallowell has never been to Venice and thinks Oslo might be more inspiring
Alfred Sherman attacks John Gummer's white paper on land use and his attempt to turn London into Barcelona
Academic life is being crushed by the weight of unwanted articles and books that the new productivity assessment systems require. Noel Malcolm proposes a reform based on agricultural "set-aside"
Robert Putnam has become an academic celebrity in the US with his views on the decline of civic virtue. Nicholas Lemann says that his ideas are popular because they are politically convenient
The coming dispute over the relationship between Euro "ins" and "outs" could begin the unravelling of the EU. Derek Coombs says that Britain has considerable clout on this issue but should not abuse...
Central bank independence is now supported across the political spectrum. But James Forder says the arguments for independence are special pleading by sectional interests
The rule of law will not survive in Hong Kong when it returns to Chinese sovereignty next year. Steve Vines blames the colony's reactionary Chinese elite
Where reform has been tried in Russia, democrats thrive. Communist strength, on the other hand, follows the path of Hitler's invasion
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