“Many working- and middle-class voters, who feel left behind by globalisation, are far angrier than establishment leaders realised”
theory, compensate the losers, leaving everyone better off.
Globalization skeptics are right that, in practice, the compensation tends to remain hypothetical. But the suggestion that we should try to roll back globalisation is problematic for a simple reason: globalization can’t be undone. Any effort to put the genie back in the bottle might not only trigger trade wars, with serious consequences for economic growth, but would also fail to reduce trade to the levels of 50 years ago. No national leader could restore, say, steel-industry employment to what it was in 1966.
Fortunately, there is a better option. We can globalisation as a given, and adopt measures to compensate those who might naturally lose out.
In the US, measures that could help to achieve that include Trade Adjustment Assistance, a programme aimed specifically at helping those who have lost their jobs due to trade. More important programmes – which could help those left behind by trade, technology, or something else – include an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit and health insurance.
Democrats, including President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee to succeed him, largely support these policies. Yet Republicans have opposed them. It seems likely that Trump would reject such efforts as well, even as he claims to be the saviour of the working class.
Trump’s rise reflects the extent to which political polarisation in the US has deepened during the last eight years. As political moderates have been pushed out, policy gridlock has worsened, with presidential initiatives routinely blocked by congressional Republicans, even when such take help