The limits of populism

On Project Syndicate, Philippe Legrain reflects on whether populism has peaked in Europe. On the one hand, he argues that the success of Macron in France represents a halt to the rise of populist forces. On the other, Legrain stresses that for the new French leader it will not be easy to bring about change, above all, because he has to face the challenge of winning a parliamentary majority. Legrain argues that this is unlikely to happen without the collaboration of the conservatives. He closes by asking Macron to not follow the unsuccessful path of his Italian colleague Matteo Renzi, who was forced to resign after losing a constitutional referendum in late 2016.

On Social Europe, Simon Wren-Lewis tries to answer the puzzle of why populist forces seem to be stronger and more successful in the UK and the US than elsewhere. The author lists a set of hypothetical explanations and argues that the combination of strong “neoliberal policies” and the availability of institutional right-wing parties to embrace an anti-migrant rhetoric – if not to be conquered by far-right leaders, as it happened in the US – adds up to the success of populism.

On the The New York Times, Ruchir Sharma asks provocatively why Wall Street performs so well notwithstanding Donald Trump’s presidency. Sharma provides a counterintuitive explanation: far from endorsing “Trumpnomics”, US investors understood instead that Trump’s electoral slogans might be nothing more than rhetoric. In other words, the fact that Wall Street is not reacting to Trump can be seen as a guarantee of “economics as usual”. Consequently, opponents of the US President should just be happy about it. Last but not least, Sharma underlines that the global economy is recovering, with Europe and Japan in their best shape since the burst of the financial bubble in 2008.

Likewise, in a policy brief of the OCP Policy Center, Uri Dadush claims that notwithstanding pressures coming from the Trump administration and similarly protectionist governments elsewhere, businesses should not curtail their direct foreign investments or reshoring activities, if this is in the interest of business development and sustainability. Dadush argues that although many intellectuals, economists and commentators talk about the defeat of globalization, the phenomenon can be expected to thrive in the near future, amidst of trade frictions.

Corbyn on the rise

The electoral campaign in the UK is making the headlines over the Channel, with many
commentators focusing on the recent rise in support for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, at the expense of Tory Prime Minister Theresa May. On The Independent, Matthew Norman focuses on the television contest of Monday evening. As many other commentators, Norman recognizes the success of Jeremy Corbyn over a way too “defensive” May. Although the author does not believe in an eventual victory of the Labour party, he argues that Corbyn could be set to win his fight against internal opponents, the so-called Blairites. If Corbyn continues to convince Britons across the UK, he might eventually improve the electoral performance of the Labour party with respect to the previous leaderships of Ed Miliband and Gordon Brown. Such a prospect would definitely consolidate Corbyn’s grip on the party.

On openDemocracy, Des Freedman argues that the Corbyn’s success in Monday’s public debate shows something important about the UK media system, namely its strong bias in favour of the right. Freedman claims that when Corbyn is given the opportunity to speak his arguments resonate with a wide spectrum of voters. Freedman rounds on mainstream media, underlining the “disjuncture” between agenda frames and voters’ interests.

This Ideas Monitor is by Carlo Burelli and Alexander Damiano Ricci

Photo Credits CC duncan c 

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