March 20, 2023: A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week, what’s wrong with the banks? Also, we ask whether Bibi will break Israel (10:39) and why men should get a good night’s sleep to ensure vaccines work properly (19:03).
What’s wrong with the banks
Rising interest rates have left banks exposed. Time to fix the system—again
Only ten days ago you might have thought that the banks had been fixed after the nightmare of the financial crisis in 2007-09. Now it is clear that they still have the power to cause a heart-stopping scare. A ferocious run at Silicon Valley Bank on March 9th saw $42bn in deposits flee in a day. svb was just one of three American lenders to collapse in the space of a week. Regulators worked frantically over the weekend to devise a rescue. Even so, customers are asking once again if their money is safe.
Will Bibi break Israel?
When Israel’s best and brightest are up in arms it is time to worry
This should have been Israel’s moment. As it approaches its 75th birthday in April the risk of a conventional war with neighbouring Arab states, for decades an existential danger, is at its lowest since 1948. The last Palestinian intifada, or uprising against occupation, ended 18 years ago. Israel’s tech-powered economy is more successful and globally relevant than ever. Last year gdp per person hit $55,000, making it richer than the eu.
To ensure vaccines work properly, men should get a good night’s sleep
The case for women is less clear
Vaccines get all the glory, but it is really the immune system that does the heavy lifting. Indeed, those with weak immune systems often benefit little from vaccines. Aware of this, researchers have long thought that people deprived of sleep also ought to benefit less from vaccines, as sleeping less is thought to reduce immune function. A new analysis reveals that this is clearly the case—though only in men.