Perspectives on Geopolitics, History, and Political Economy

Lessons from the Anti-Globalists

Excerpt of Commentary from Project Syndicate

Joseph E. Stiglitz, Professor of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, is pictured during a panel session on the first day of the 47th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, 17 January 2017. The meeting brings together enterpreneurs, scientists, chief executives and political leaders in Davos January 17 to 20. EPA/GIAN EHRENZELLER

By Joseph Stiglitz

NEW YORK – The likely victory of Emmanuel Macron in the French presidential election has elicited a global sigh of relief. At least Europe is not going down the protectionist path that President Donald Trump is forcing the United States to take.

But advocates of globalization should keep the champagne on ice: protectionists and advocates of “illiberal democracy” are on the rise in many other countries. And the fact that an open bigot and habitual liar could get as many votes as Trump did in the US, and that the far-right Marine Le Pen will be in the run-off vote with Macron on May 7, should be deeply worrying.

Some assume that Trump’s poor management and obvious incompetence should be enough to dent enthusiasm for populist nostrums elsewhere. Likewise, the US Rust Belt voters who supported Trump will almost certainly be worse off in four years, and rational voters surely will understand this.

© 1995 – 2016 Project Syndicate

Joseph E. Stiglitz, recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001 and the John Bates Clark Medal in 1979, is University Professor at Columbia University, Co-Chair of the High-Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress at the OECD, and Chief Economist of the Roosevelt Institute. A former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank and chair of the US president’s Council of Economic Advisers under Bill Clinton, in 2000 he founded the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, a think tank on international development based at Columbia University. His most recent book is The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe.

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