Wheeling & Dealing

Ten years ago the British gave up investment banking, selling off their own financial-services firms one by one to American behemoths. Since then, the conventional wisdom has been that London itself would always play second fiddle to New York as a global investment capital.

The Gender Gap: Moms Not Wanted

Europeans and Americans alike have certain romantic notions about Sweden. We imagine it as a land of liberal-minded people living in a bastion of equality--which, in many ways, it is.

... Neither Is the State

Yes, spreading wealth more evenly around the developing world would be a good thing. The question is whether those governments could do more for the poor by staying well out of things.

Beauty Gets Ugly

In April Jean-Paul Agon takes over as CEO of L'Oreal with a hard act to follow. Briton Lindsay Owen-Jones has presided over 21 straight years of double-digit profit growth at the 14 billion euro company, which owns famous lines like Lancome and Maybelline.

It's About Jobs

To understand why young Muslims in French slums have been burning cars and buildings over the past two weeks, consider the economics of hairdressing. On the streets of New York and London, beauty salons employing immigrants who speak little or no English are omnipresent. (Hairdressing is, in fact, one of Britain's fastest-growing professions.) The equivalent is not true in France, where you need a special degree and years of training to legally wield a blow-dryer, let alone a meat cleaver or...

When Women Lead

This should be a season of celebration. After all, by many measures, there's never been a better time to be a woman. In places like Scandinavia and Britain, a third or more of all corporate managers are now women.

A Second Dot-Coming

The scramble to entertain you has unleashed the second coming of dot-coms. This time the business plans are written on legal paper (not napkins), the prospects are measured in dollars (not hits) and the focus is on media companies (not Anything.com).

Where the Money Goes

If it weren't for the raffia coasters and folk art in her office, it would be tough to tell Barbara Stocking from a big-time CEO. The director of Oxfam's British operation has the power manner, and calendar: one summer week took her to a meeting with EU Trade Minister Peter Mandelson, a fund-raiser with European business leaders and the G8 summit in Scotland.

Fabulous Fashion

As the season of fashion shows in the U.S. and Europe draws to a close in Paris this week, one of the hottest trendsetters is also one of the newest. TopShop, the 41-year-old British retailer known for "fast fashion," or quick knockoffs of designer labels, moved from follower to leader last month with its first ever catwalk show in London.

Your Own World

The world's largest broadcaster first glimpsed the future of entertainment through the eyes of grade-school kids and grannies. Jana Bennett, director of television for the British Broadcasting Corp., remembers the shock well.

A Second Coming Of The Dot-Coms

The scramble to entertain you has unleashed the second coming of dot-coms. This time the business plans are written on legal paper (not napkins), the prospects are measured in dollars (not hits) and the focus is on media companies (not Anything.com).

Where The Money Is

If it wasn't for the raffia coasters and folk art in her office, it would be tough to tell Oxfam GB director Barbara Stocking from the CEO of a multinational corporation.

Turkish Delight

After So Many Decades Of Trying To Become Western, Istanbul Glories In The Rediscovery Of A Very Modern Identity. European Or Not, It Is One Of The Coolest Cities In The World.

COMIC RELIEF

If you have any doubt about the power of comic books, consider that they are now required reading for the future military leaders of America. In order to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, cadets from the class of 2006 must study Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel "Persepolis," a coming-of-age tale set during the Iranian revolution.

NO-PROFIT ZONE

Parisians and Milanese handpick their silk scarves and cashmere sweaters with the care hedge funds lavish on stock portfolios. New Yorkers, with their professional blow-drys and sleek power uniforms, are always the most pulled-together fashionistas.

MAXIMUM LUXURY

The old lexicon of luxe hardly serves to describe Daslu, a venerable Sao Paulo store freshly rebuilt as a 17,000-square-meter temple to Mammon. Opened last month, it has a heliport for customers who prefer not to mix with traffic.

CHANGING CHANNELS

The death of television has been predicted almost since its birth. Back in 1946, Hollywood producer Darryl F. Zanuck famously announced that TV wouldn't last more than six months because "people will get tired of staring at a plywood box every night." A decade later, when the remote control was invented, industry types worried that this miracle device would destroy their businesses by turning viewers into ad-avoiding serial clickers.

REAL ESTATE GONE WILD

Property, like politics, used to be local. After all, what demands more on-the-ground knowledge than buying a home? But over the last few years real estate has gone global.

Innovation: Europe's Silicon Envy

You've heard of Silicon Valley, but what about Silicon Fen (Cambridge, England)? Or Silicon Glen (Glasgow)? Or the Cote du Silicon (Sophia Antipolis, France)?

AT HOME AWAY FROM HOME

Linden Cole, 52-year-old English management consultant, bought what he calls his Brittany "ruin" for 14,000 pounds back in 1997. He'd been vacationing in France for years, and decided that the crumbling yet atmospheric stone cottage would be a great holiday home.

ARMS EMBARGO: NO LIFT IN SALES

No matter what Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroder may say, it's clear that European defense contractors plan to follow George Bush's lead and maintain the arms embargo on China.

Arms Embargo: No Lift in Sales

No matter what Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroder may say, it's clear that European defense contractors plan to follow George Bush's lead and maintain the arms embargo on China.

INVENTIONS: A FACTORY OF ONE'S OWN

Neil Gershenfeld has boundary issues. As a teen, he irked his parents by asking to attend the local trade school rather than the mainstream academy for bright kids like himself. "I was good in science, but I also wanted to learn to make stuff," he says. "I didn't understand why those things had to be separate." At Bell Labs, he ran into trouble with the unions when he tried to use machine tools to fabricate vacuum chambers he needed for his research.

Man of Steel

Lakshmi Mittal was the only steel baron tough--or crazy--enough to turn Kazakhstan's state steelworks into a going operation. When he first visited in 1995, he found a 1960s-style operation run by workers who hadn't been paid in seven months.

HI! THE NET IS CALLING.

Like the technology he's pushing, Jeffrey Citron, the 34-year-old CEO of Internet phone company Vonage, has a tendency to shake things up. In the 1990s, armed with little more than a high-school diploma, he founded two businesses, including Datek Online Holdings, and helped pioneer the tools for computerized daytrading on Wall Street (and attracted the ire of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which fined him $22.5 million for allegedly misusing the new system).

Wary Of Aid

Nonpartisan aid has a funny way of becoming political. Just ask the hundreds of workers from organizations like Oxfam, CARE and Save the Children who are carrying out tsunami relief work in Indonesia's Aceh province.

SIGNAL LOST

Jeff Pulver used to spend long hours in his basement hunched over his ham radio. The hobby was fun, but geeky. So Pulver did what many other teenagers in 1970s suburban New York did: he bought a Trans Am sports car.

WHY ALL THE WORRY?

Ascents don't get much steeper than Stan O'Neal's. The grandson of a slave, O'Neal remembers picking cotton in Alabama before earning his M.B.A. and working his way up at General Motors, then Merrill Lynch, where he became CEO in 2002.

END OF THE LINE

Twenty years ago, when British investment banks began selling out in a wave that would transform the City of London from a bastion of "gentlemanly capitalism" to a hub of American-style wheeling and dealing, one firm stood apart.

GAMAL-NOMICS

Even by Middle Eastern standards, Egypt has never been an easy place to do business. Its inwardly focused economy has stagnated for the past seven years. Inflation is rife, tariffs and unemployment are among the highest in the world, and red tape is endless, thanks to a command and control state with 6 million civil servants.

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