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divendres, 11 de novembre de 2016

La esperanza es que la elección de Trump resulte catártica

The hope is that this election will prove cathartic. Perhaps, in office, Mr Trump will be pragmatic and magnanimous—as he was in his acceptance speech. Perhaps he will be King Donald, a figurehead and tweeter-in-chief who presides over an executive vice-president and a cabinet of competent, reasonable people. When he decides against building a wall against Mexico after all or concludes that a trade war with China is not a wise idea, his voters may not mind too much—because they only expected him to make them feel proud and to put conservative justices in the Supreme Court. Indeed, you can just about imagine a future in which extra infrastructure spending, combined with deregulation, tax cuts, a stronger dollar and the repatriation of corporate profits, boosts the American economy for long enough to pacify the anger. This more emollient Trump might even model himself on Ronald Reagan, a conservative hero who was mocked and underestimated, too.

Nothing would make us happier than to see Mr Trump succeed in this way. But whereas Reagan was an optimist, Mr Trump rails against the loss of an imagined past. We are deeply sceptical that he will make a good president—because of his policies, his temperament and the demands of political office.


The genius of America’s constitution is to limit the harm one president can do. We hope Mr Trump proves our doubts groundless or that, if he fails, a better president will be along in four years. The danger with popular anger, though, is that disillusion with Mr Trump will only add to the discontent that put him there in the first place. If so, his failure would pave the way for someone even more bent on breaking the system.

The election of Mr Trump is a rebuff to all liberals, including this newspaper. The open markets and classically liberal democracy that we defend, and which had seemed to be affirmed in 1989, have been rejected by the electorate first in Britain and now in America. France, Italy and other European countries may well follow. It is clear that popular support for the Western order depended more on rapid growth and the galvanising effect of the Soviet threat than on intellectual conviction. Recently Western democracies have done too little to spread the benefits of prosperity. Politicians and pundits took the acquiescence of the disillusioned for granted. As Mr Trump prepares to enter the White House, the long, hard job of winning the argument for liberal internationalism begins anew.

FT.- The manner of Trump’s victory lays bare the social basis of the movement he has mobilised. A look at the voting map shows Clinton’s support concentrated geographically in cities along the coasts, with swaths of rural and small-town America voting solidly for Trump. The most surprising shifts were his flipping of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, three northern industrial states that were so solidly Democratic in recent elections that Clinton didn’t even bother to campaign in the latter one. He won by being able to win over unionised workers who had been hit by deindustrialisation, promising to “make America great again” by restoring their lost manufacturing jobs.

We have seen this story before. This is the story of Brexit, where the pro-Leave vote was similarly concentrated in rural areas and small towns and cities outside London. It is also true in France, where working-class voters whose parents and grandparents used to vote for the Communist or Socialist parties are voting for Marine Le Pen’s National Front.

But populist nationalism is a far broader phenomenon than that. Vladimir Putin remains unpopular among more educated voters in big cities such as St Petersburg and Moscow, but has a huge support base in the rest of the country. The same is true of Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has an enthusiastic support base among the country’s conservative lower middle class, or Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban, who is popular everywhere but in Budapest.

Social class, defined today by one’s level of education, appears to have become the single most important social fracture in countless industrialised and emerging-market countries. This, in turn, is driven directly by globalisation and the march of technology, which has been facilitated in turn by the liberal world order created largely by the US since 1945.

When we talk about a liberal world order, we are speaking about the rules-based system of international trade and investment that has fuelled global growth in recent years. This is the system that allows iPhones to be assembled in China and shipped to customers in the US or Europe in the week before Christmas. It has also facilitated the movement of millions of people from poorer countries to richer ones, where they can find greater opportunities for themselves and their children. This system has worked as advertised: between 1970 and the US financial crisis of 2008, global output of goods and services quadrupled, bringing hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, not just in China and India but in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.

But as everyone is painfully aware now, the benefits of this system did not filter down to the whole population. The working classes in the developed world saw their jobs disappear as companies outsourced and squeezed efficiencies in response to a ruthlessly competitive global market.

This long-term story was hugely exacerbated by the US subprime crisis of 2008, and the euro crisis that hit Europe a couple of years later. In both cases, systems designed by elites — liberalised financial markets in the US case, and European policies such as the euro and the Schengen system of internal migration — collapsed dramatically in the face of external shocks. The costs of these failures were again much more heavily borne by ordinary workers than by the elites themselves. Ever since, the real question should not have been why populism has emerged in 2016, but why it took so long to become manifest.

In the US, there was a political failure insofar as the system did not adequately represent the traditional working class. The Republican party was dominated by corporate America and its allies who had profited handsomely from globalisation, while the Democratic party had become the party of identity politics: a coalition of women, African-Americans, Hispanics, environmentalists, and the LGBT community, that lost its focus on economic issues.

The failure of the American left to represent the working class is mirrored in similar failures across Europe. European social democracy had made its peace with globalisation a couple of decades ago, in the form of Blairite centrism or the kind of neoliberal reformism engineered by Gerhard Schröder’s Social Democrats in the 2000s.

But the broader failure of the left was the same one made in the lead-up to 1914 and the Great war, when, in the apt phrase of the British-Czech philosopher, Ernest Gellner, a letter sent to a mailbox marked “class” was mistakenly delivered to one marked “nation.” Nation almost always trumps class because it is able to tap into a powerful source of identity, the desire to connect with an organic cultural community. This longing for identity is now emerging in the form of the American alt-right, a formerly ostracised collection of groups espousing white nationalism in one form or another. But even short of these extremists, many ordinary American citizens began to wonder why their communities were filling up with immigrants, and who had authorised a system of politically correct language by which one could not even complain about the problem. This is why Donald Trump received a huge number of votes from better-educated and more well-off voters as well, who were not victims of globalisation but still felt their country was being taken from them. Needless to say, this dynamic underlay the Brexit vote as well.

So what will be the concrete consequences of the Trump victory for the international system? Contrary to his critics, Trump does have a consistent and thought-through position: he is a nationalist on economic policy, and in relation to the global political system. He has clearly stated that he will seek to renegotiate existing trade agreements such as Nafta and presumably the WTO, and if he doesn’t get what he wants, he is willing to contemplate exiting from them. And he has expressed admiration for “strong” leaders such as Russia’s Putin who nonetheless get results through decisive action. He is correspondingly much less enamoured of traditional US allies such as those in Nato, or Japan and South Korea, whom he has accused of freeriding on American power. This suggests that support for them will also be conditional on a renegotiation of the cost-sharing arrangements now in place. | Francis Fukuyama

WSJ.- For decades, progressives have emphasized the “income gap” separating rich and poor. Their cries have only grown louder since the financial crisis. They contended that income inequality would ignite a new class struggle, causing unprecedented political turmoil.

This was half right. There is indeed a gap in this country, and it has now led to a political revolution, a significant realignment in American politics. But the relevant gap wasn’t income. It was dignity.

Too many Americans have lost pride in themselves. We sense dignity by creating value with our lives, through families, communities, and especially work. That is why American leaders so frequently talk about dignity in the context of labor. As Martin Luther King Jr. taught, “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” Conversely, nothing destroys dignity more than idleness and a sense of superfluousness—the feeling that one is simply not needed.

That is the circumstance in which millions of Americans find themselves today. Best-selling books over the past few years such as Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart” and J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy” tell the story. The U.S. is bifurcating into a nation of economic winners and losers, and this distinction is seeping into American culture. The dignity gap grows every time those who lose out start hearing, “We don’t need you anymore.”

Who falls on the wrong side of this dignity gap? These days it is working-class men. In his new book “Men Without Work,” my colleague Nick Eberstadt shows that between 1965 and 2015 the percentage of working-aged men outside the workforce increased to 22% from 10%. Many millions more are underemployed. The employment-to-population ratio for men aged 25-54 is 6.8% lower today than it was in 1930, in the teeth of the Great Depression.

These secular trends were amplified by the nonrecovery that most Americans experienced after the Great Recession. Only about the top fifth of the economy saw positive income growth for most of the Obama presidency, Census Bureau data show, while most others averaged no growth at all. This stagnation has decimated middle-aged men without a college education, especially in rural areas.

Men without work are much less likely than working men to be married with families, Mr. Eberstadt also shows, further compounding the problem. Does modern society tell many working-class men they are needed and valued as husbands and fathers? This question answers itself.

Life without dignity can produce shocking results. In a 2015 paper, Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton showed that the mortality rates of middle-aged American whites have actually increased since 1999. They are the only demographic group for whom this is true. The main reasons? Cirrhosis of the liver (up 50% since 1999 among this group), suicide (up 78%), and poisonings due to drugs and alcohol (up 323%). These trends are mostly driven by those with less education.| ARTHUR C. BROOKS

THE GUARDIAN.- Some scientists will have to join the White House itself. When George W. Bush was elected, his administration had a hard time finding a scientist willing to serve as his science advisor. When Jack Marburger, a highly respected administrator and physicist who was also a Democrat, took the job he was excoriated by his peers and excommunicated from some scientific circles. We see hints of similar responses to Trump’s election already. Earlier this week the American Physical Society issued a press release congratulating Trump on his victory and encouraging him to “make sustained and robust funding of scientific research a top priority.” The APS received so many complaints that it felt compelled to retract it and issue an apology.

Some have already written off Trump’s yet-to-be-named science advisor. For instance, Robert Cook-Deegan of Arizona State University says, “For Trump, I’m not sure [his science advisor] would matter, because there won’t be any ‘policy’ apparatus… Science won’t get much attention, except when it gets in the way or bolsters support for a political priority.” Marburger was called a “prostitute” upon taking the position under Bush.

There are thousands of political appointees, including many science positions, that will need to be nominated, expert advisory bodies constituted and reconstituted, and experts put into staff positions under the White House. Any scientist who agrees to hold their nose and work with the Trump administration should expect much of the same criticism received by Marburger. Some, such as government scientists, will not have much choice but to engage. That is their job. | Jack Stilgoe & Roger Pielke Jr

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