There is no hope that this societal climate will quick ly change Ignoring

There is no hope that this societal climate will

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There is no hope that this societal climate will quick- ly change. Ignoring important economic and social con- straints will soon reduce wellbeing. But the price has to become significant to induce a turnaround. Brexit is an excellent case study of the dilemma. Delivered by surprise, and despite substantial evidence of the huge irrationality of this decision, the country remains largely split and undecided. When the harsh reality after a cold Brexit shows its painful effects, it will be too late to return. To avoid such mistakes and to oppose populism, it is not enough to present statistics about the positive effects of globalization and to redistribute part of the gains from the winners to the losers. One needs to add the human face of globalization and the vision that more global solidarity will also provide higher well-being. The G-20 summit legacy from the past decade is badly in need of updating or replacement. GARY KLEIMAN Senior Partner, Kleiman International Consultants P opulism as an anti-establishment and xenophobic political philosophy reflecting economic backlash against globalization, technological change, and in- come inequality is part of the historical cycle in both the developing and industrial world, and modern financial markets as instantaneous transmission mechanisms mag- nify strains. In the Americas and Europe, with the United States, Brexit, Central Europe, and Brazil-Mexico examples, the phenomenon is best known, but no region has been spared
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34 THE INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY WINTER 2019 and the playbook applies in democracies as well as in au- thoritarian regimes. Populism has succeeded in bringing in new parties and leaders on the national level and upsetting existing trade, monetary, development, and diplomatic arrange- ments internationally, but election campaign platforms are typically abstract and sentiment-based. Translating aspirations into durable policy shifts, with tangible ben- efits for disgruntled lower- and middle-class voters, has proven elusive. In recognition of difficulties in producing definitive changes aligned with promises and rhetoric, populist movements and representatives are now “glo- balizing” to share experiences and forge alliances. Real breakthroughs in handling automation and artificial intel- ligence with employment and privacy implications, and trying to moderate growing cross-border and in-country wealth gaps, can best be assured through joint efforts to forge the future landscape, even if international coopera- tion and formal treaties are discarded as last-century es- tablishment remnants. Revamping the free trade model to add skills and re- training provisions, services along with goods coverage, and currency considerations is an evolving consensus, even if the United States prefers to resort to bilateral pacts and tariff threats. Africa in contrast has tabled a continen- tal formula encompassing these features.
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