It allows the reinforcement of tribal politics with each tribe living in its

It allows the reinforcement of tribal politics with

This preview shows page 14 - 16 out of 25 pages.

It allows the reinforcement of tribal politics, with each tribe living in its own echo chamber. This all points up the fragility of democracy, which, as I reread the Federalist papers, is premised on a well- informed civil society. Add to that a dysfunctional political system in which some 40 percent or more of the voters are independents or independent-leaning in the Democratic and Republican parties, while we have an electoral financ- ing system that rewards extremes, left and right. Until we find a way to rebuild the vital center (per- haps an American version of Macron), populism will be a powerful force. The good news is it is difficult to see populism delivering and building the sort of less-unequal economic growth and social justice that is the antidote to the anger and rage that is populism. The central opportunity is to foster policy bridges to economic possibility and mass prosperity. GLENN HUBBARD Dean, Columbia Business School, and former Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush F ree and open societies are certainly more vulnerable than many think. From the early 2020 campaign rhet- oric in the United States to the ongoing Brexit drama to movements in continental Europe, populism’s winds blow strong. And those winds blow in opposing direc- tions, making a storm more likely. Right-wing populism has not so much brought forth a normalizing response from center-right elites as it has brought forth an undisciplined left-wing populism. The failure of center-left and center-right elites to offer a co- herent response to populism fans flames that engulf open markets and mass prosperity. Economic forces of technological change and glo- balization have led to transformative prosperity around the world, but have raised the anxiety level of low-skill and middle-skill workers in the industrial world, impor- tantly including the United States. Economic and policy elites, quick to embrace the gains from technological change and globalization for business and GDP per per- son, have been slow to recognize the adverse shifts in current and almost certainly future buffeting of many workers and citizens. Policy responses have either been small-bore (think Trade Adjustment Assistance in the United States) or frus- trating to many (for example, the U.S. bailout of banks, while ignoring the economic plight of average homeown- ers). As Harvard economics professor Benjamin Friedman observed in The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, this erosion of prosperity and possibility for many fans fears of “the other,” fears exploited by populists.
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WINTER 2019 THE INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY 25 The failure of economic policy elites to note and ad- dress these forces has left both a central challenge and a central opportunity. The central challenge is to combat the “wall” impulse from right-wing populists toward physi- cal barriers and national and social barriers and, from left- wing populists, the economic-security-state version.
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