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This Week in The Fall of the Empire News: We are Fucked.

Political System Beyond Saving. Nation is Done Forever.

Why Do So Many Americans Fear Muslims? Decades of Denial About America’s Role in the World.

There’s been lots of attention-grabbing opposition to Trump’s “Muslim ban” executive order, from demonstrations to court orders. But polls make it clear public opinion is much more mixed. Standard phone polls show small majorities opposed, while web and automated polls find small majorities continue to support it.


What surprises me about the poll results isn’t that lots of Americans like the ban — but that so many Americans don’t. Regular people have lives to lead and can’t investigate complicated issues in detail. Instead they usually take their cues from leaders they trust. And given what politicians across the U.S. political spectrum say about terrorism, Trump’s executive order makes perfect sense. There are literally no national-level American politicians telling a story that would help ordinary people understand why Trump’s goals are both horrendously counterproductive and morally vile.

Think of it this way:

On February 13, 1991 during the first Gulf War, the U.S. dropped two laser-guided bombs on the Amiriyah public air raid shelter in Baghdad. More than 400 Iraqi civilians were incinerated or boiled alive. For years afterward visitors to a memorial there would meet a woman with eight children who had died during the bombing; she was living in the ruined shelter because she could not bear to be anywhere else.

Now, imagine that immediately after the bombing Saddam Hussein had delivered a speech on Iraqi TV in which he plaintively asked “Why do they hate us?” — without ever mentioning the fact that Iraq was occupying Kuwait. And even Saddam’s political opponents would only mumble that “this is a complicated issue.” And most Iraqis had no idea that their country had invaded Kuwait, and that there were extensive United Nation resolutions and speeches by George H.W. Bush explaining the U.S.-led coalition’s rationale for attacking Iraq in response. And that the few Iraqis who suggested there might be some kind of relationship between Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and the Amiriyah bombing were shouted down by politicians saying these Iraq-hating radicals obviously believed that America’s slaughter of 400 people was justified.

If that had happened, we’d immediately recognize that Iraqi political culture was completely insane, and that it would cause them to behave in dangerously nutty ways. But that’s exactly what U.S. political culture is like.

In an interview last March with Anderson Cooper, Donald Trump tried to puzzle out what’s behind the terrorism directed at the U.S. “I think Islam hates us,” Trump learnedly opined. “There’s a tremendous hatred there, we’ve got to get to the bottom of it.”

“In Islam itself?” asked Cooper. Trump responded, “You’re going to have to figure that out. You’ll get another Pulitzer.”

During Trump’s speech at the CIA right after his inauguration, he expressed the same bewilderment. “Radical Islamic terrorism,” pondered Trump. “This is something nobody can even understand.”

John F. Kelly, now Trump’s head of the Department of Homeland Security, is similarly perplexed, saying in a 2013 speech that “I don’t know why they hate us, and I frankly don’t care, but they do hate us and are driven irrationally to our destruction.”

Say what you want about the tenets of this worldview, but at least it’s an internally consistent ethos: We’re surrounded by lunatics who want to murder us for reasons that are totally inscrutable to rational people like us but … obviously have something to do with them being Muslims.

Meanwhile, in private, the non-crazy members of the U.S. foreign policy establishment aren’t confused at all. They understand quite well that Islamist terrorism is almost wholly blowback from the foreign policy they’ve designed.

Richard Shultz, a professor at Tufts whose career has long been intertwined with the national security state, has written that “A very senior [Special Operations Forces] officer who had served on the Joint Staff in the 1990s told me that more than once he heard terrorist strikes characterized as ‘a small price to pay for being a superpower.’” That small price, of course, is the deaths of regular Americans, and is apparently well worth it.

The 9/11 Commission report quietly acknowledged, hundreds of pages in, that “America’s policy choices have consequences. Right or wrong, it is simply a fact that American policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American actions in Iraq are dominant staples of popular commentary across the Arab and Muslim world.” A senior official in the George W. Bush administration later put it more bluntly to Esquire: That without the post-Gulf War sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and the stationing of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, “bin Laden might still be redecorating mosques and boring friends with stories of his mujahideen days in the Khyber Pass.”

Intelligence professionals were quite aware that an invasion of Iraq would take the conditions that led to 9/11 and make them far worse. The British Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war published a February, 2003 assessment by British intelligence of the consequences of an invasion of Iraq, which would occur one month later. “The threat from Al Qaida will increase at the onset of any military action against Iraq,” the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee told Tony Blair, and “the worldwide threat from other Islamist terrorist groups and individuals will increase significantly.”

The CIA had the same perspective. Michael Scheuer, who for several years ran the section of the Agency that tracked bin Laden, wrote in 2004 that “U.S. forces and policies are completing the radicalization of the Islamic world, something Osama bin Laden has been trying to do with substantial but incomplete success since the early 1990s. As a result, I think it fair to conclude that the United States of America remains bin Laden’s only indispensable ally.”

For its part, the Defense Department’s Science Board concluded in a 2004 report that “Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states.”

When Barack Obama took office, he had two choices.

First, he could tell the truth: That the U.S. has acted with extraordinary brutality in the Middle East, that this had been the main motivation for most Islamist terrorism against us, and if we continued the same foreign policy Americans would be killed indefinitely in intermittent attacks. Then we could have had an open, informed debate about whether we like our foreign policy enough to die for it.

Second, Obama could continue trying to run the Middle East without public input, but in a more rational way than the Bush administration.

Obviously he went with the second choice, which demanded several different forms of political correctness.

Most importantly, Obama pretended that the U.S. has never done anything truly wrong to others, and can enjoy the benefits of power without any costs. This is the most pernicious and common form of political correctness, but is never called that because the most powerful people in America love it.

But Obama also engaged in something more akin to what’s generally called political correctness, by contending that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. But it does — just not in the way that Frank Gaffney and Pamela Geller would tell you.

Religion and nationalism have always been similar phenomena, and Islam sometimes functions as a form of nationalism. And like all nationalisms, it has a crazy, vicious right wing that’s empowered by outside attacks on members of the nation. The right loves to jeer at Obama for calling Islam “a religion of peace,” and they should — not because Islam specifically isn’t a religion of peace but because there is really no such thing, just as there is no “nationalism of peace.” It’s true religions and nationalism can bring out the best in people, but they also bring out the worst (sometimes in the same person for the same reasons).

But Obama could never say anything like that, because he knew the U.S. needs the governments of Muslim-majority countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt to keep the rest of the Middle East in line.

This amalgam of political correctness made it impossible for the Obama administration ever to tell a story about terrorism that made any sense. For instance, in his 2009 speech in Cairo, he declared, “It is easier to blame others than to look inward” — and then went on to demonstrate that truism.

His description of wrongs done by the U.S. was vague to the point of meaninglessness: “tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims.” Also, “Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world.”

Obama then explained that “Violent extremists have exploited these tensions.” So … 19 people were motivated to fly jetliners into buildings by “tensions”? If that’s the only story that non-Muslim Americans hear, they’ll rationally be terrified of Islam.

In 2010, Obama’s counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan, emitted a similar bland puree of words at a press conference when questioned by Helen Thomas about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the failed underwear bomber. Their exchange went like this:

THOMAS: And what is the motivation? We never hear what you find out on why.

BRENNAN: Al Qaeda is an organization that is dedicated to murder and wanton slaughter of innocents… [They] attract individuals like Mr. Abdulmutallab and use them for these types of attacks. He was motivated by a sense of religious sort of drive. Unfortunately, al Qaeda has perverted Islam, and has corrupted the concept of Islam, so that [they’re] able to attract these individuals. But al Qaeda has the agenda of destruction and death.

THOMAS: And you’re saying it’s because of religion?

BRENNAN: I’m saying it’s because of an al Qaeda organization that uses the banner of religion in a very perverse and corrupt way.

THOMAS: Why?

BRENNAN: I think this is a, uh, long issue, but al Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland.


At his sentencing, Abdulmutallab explained his motivation in less time than it took Brennan to say there wasn’t enough time to explain:

[I pledged] to attack the United States in retaliation for U.S. support of Israel and in retaliation of the killing of innocent and civilian Muslim populations in Palestine, especially in the blockade of Gaza, and in retaliation for the killing of innocent and civilian Muslim populations in Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and beyond, most of them women, children, and noncombatants.

To be fair, there is one situation in which American officials have lost the mushmouth and drawn a direct connection between a country killing Mideastern civilians and terrorist retaliation: when that country is Russia. William Burns, formerly Obama’s Deputy Secretary of State, recently and accurately proclaimed that “Russia’s bloody role in Syria makes the terrorist threat far worse.” John Kirby, an Obama State Department spokesman, warned that Russia’s brutalization of Syria would lead to  “attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities.”

Russia’s response to our friendly observation was about the same as ours when Russia told us before the invasion of Iraq that it would cause a “wave of terror.”

That brings us back to President Trump and his executive order on immigration.

Trump’s story about why it’s necessary is, factually speaking, garbage. But a normal human being can at least understand it and its moral: These incomprehensible foreigners are all potential psychotics, we’ve got to keep them out. Under these circumstances, who cares that no one from any of these seven countries has killed any Americans yet? They’re all part of a huge morass of ticking time bombs.

By contrast, the Democratic, liberal perspective laid out by Obama makes no sense at all. We’ve never done anything particularly bad in the Middle East, yet … some people over there want to come here and kill us because … they’ve been exploited by violent extremists who’ve perverted Islam and … gotta run, there’s no time to explain.

Regular people could sense that anyone mouthing this kind of gibberish was hiding something, even if they didn’t realize that Obama was trying to keep the U.S. empire running rather than concealing his secret faith in Islam.

And because a coherent narrative always beats the complete absence of a story, no one should be surprised that many Americans find Trump’s fantasy of inexplicable Muslim hatred persuasive. The only way to conclusively beat it will be with a coherent, complicated, true story like this:

America has done hideous things to countries across the Middle East for decades, such as bomb a civilian air raid shelter, burning the silhouette of a mother trying to protect her baby onto its walls. It was inevitable that some people would seek revenge. This doesn’t mean that their brutality is justified, any more than the slaughter at Amiriyah was justified by Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. It just means that humans are humans, violence begets violence, and Americans will always be in danger unless we change our foreign policy.

We must welcome immigrants from the Middle East both for moral and pragmatic reasons. Morally, the U.S. invasion of Iraq is what sent the region spiraling into catastrophe; only psychopaths set someone’s home on fire and then lock them inside. There are already three million Muslim American citizens. If the government keeps bombing the Middle East while making it clear that it genuinely hates Muslims, that will only spur to action more troubled weirdos like Omar Mateen — who was born in Queens, a few miles away from Donald Trump’s childhood home.


And we’d better get started with this story soon, because it may not be true forever. Israel has done an exemplary job turning a solvable, straightforward fight over land into a religious war that may no longer have any solution. We’re making similar strides in transforming a conflict that was 90 percent political, where there can be compromise, into a religious conflict where there can’t.

This can be seen, on the one hand, in ISIS propaganda. Bin Laden generally just talked about kicking the U.S. out of the Middle East and said things like, “Your security is in your own hands and each state which does not harm our security will remain safe.” The ISIS magazine Dabiq cheerfully tells us that “We hate you, first and foremost, because you are disbelievers; you reject the oneness of Allah … even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us, and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam.”

On the other hand, Donald Trump is president of the United States and Steve Bannon is his chief strategist. Bannon straightforwardly believes, as he told a conference at the Vatican in 2014, that “we’re in a war of immense proportions” that’s part of the “long history of the Judeo-Christian West struggle against Islam.” To win, Bannon says, we must form the “church militant” – an archaic term for the “Christian church on earth regarded as engaged in a constant warfare against its enemies, the powers of evil.”

So it’s quite possible ISIS and the Trump administration can successfully collaborate on getting what they both want: a totally unnecessary, civilizational war. To stop them we have to end our truckling equivocation about terrorism, and start telling the truth while there’s still time.

Why Do So Many Americans Fear Muslims? Decades of Denial About America’s Role in the World.




What Happens After the Next Big Terrorist Attack? Trump Is Paving the Way Toward a Terrifying Crackdown

Terrorism presents a grave danger—not for the reasons Trump claims, but because it could undermine democracy.

Terrorism has never been so dangerous. Even a single terrorist attack against American troops abroad or — more worrisome — a “soft target” here in the United States could have potentially catastrophic consequences for the stability and future of Western civilization.


Perhaps you’re skeptical of this claim, and you should be. After all, the average American has a greater chance of dying from a meteorite strike than a terrorist attack. But there are other reasons for considering the threat of terrorism to be greater today than at any moment since, say, the 18th century, when the word “terrorism” emerged from the French Revolution.

Consider some remarks made by our former president, that tyrannical Muslim socialist who never should have been president because he was born in Kenya. During the 2010 State of the Union address, Barack Obama said the following:

With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that, I believe, will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections.

Many people, including conservatives, were outraged. A Republican from Utah called it “rude,” while even Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, a Democrat, described these comments as “inappropriate.” As the Washington Post put it,“legal experts [have] never seen anything quite like it, a rare and unvarnished showdown between two political branches during what is usually the careful choreography of the State of the Union address.”

The reason for such outrage is that, as the political scientist Alastair Smith notes in an interview with Salon, an independent judiciary is an absolutely critical bulwark against dictatorship. In Smith’s words, “A dictator closes down courts and gets rid of the independent judiciary.” Indeed, this is what one must do to consolidate political power on the road to autocracy. Thus, any perceived challenge to the legitimacy of the courts from the executive branch is a potential threat to democracy itself.

But note how Obama couched his criticism: “With all due deference to separation of powers …” This is an explicit affirmation of the judiciary being, and remaining, an independent entity capable of “checking and balancing” the other two governmental branches.

In contrast to such careful language, though, our current authoritarian leader, Donald Trump, recently engaged in an attack on the courts that should utterly horrify every champion of democracy, whether on the left or right end of the political spectrum. First, Trump attacked the U.S. District judge, appointed by George W. Bush, who ordered a nationwide halt on Trump’s “Muslim ban,” saying, “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”

Here Trump is attacking an individual rather than the judiciary in general. But it quickly gets worse. Several hours later, Trump decided that it was a good idea to tweet, “What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.?”

Perhaps it’s worth mentioning here that zero — that’s zero — Syrian refugees allowed into the U.S. through our procrustean refugee program have been involved in a fatal terrorist attack. Virtually all of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. have involved American citizens, not refugees or immigrants. And some attacks, like the recent incident in Quebec that resulted in six deaths and 19 injuries, aren’t typically even characterized as terrorist attacks, since white males who commit atrocities are almost invariably described as “mentally ill” rather than inspired by some noxious or terrorist ideology.

The most bone-chilling tweet, though, came a day later, on Feb. 5: “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”

The key phrase here is “blame him and court system.” I don’t think Trump has the intellectual capacity to plot diabolical schemes — despite his claim to have one of the highest IQs in the world — but what’s taking shape here is a situation in which just one terrorist attack abroad or at home will enable Trump to point the finger of responsibility at the judiciary: “If only they’d listened to me,” he might declare, “then we’d be safe. Because our country is under attack. They want to kill us and chop off our heads! We need to shut down these bad, bad judges and their horrible courts before a mushroom cloud rises over New York City.”

A significant portion of the conservative right will eagerly believe Trump, because another of Trump’s alarming tactics has been to delegitimize the press, which he now routinely calls “the opposition party.” Using Twitter to gain direct access to his followers, Trump will try to mobilize a small army of angry, ignorant xenophobes to see the independent judiciary as an enemy against America — essentially, as traitorous elites who don’t have national security in their best interest. Consequently, this group of followers will welcome an erosion of the court’s power — again, in the name of domestic protection against “the Muslims.”

So the dominos are in place for a major, sudden constitutional crisis. What’s frightening about this unstable equilibrium is that another terrorist attack will almost certainly happen within the next four years, if not the next year or coming months. It’s not so much a matter of if but when this takes place, as terrorism scholars unanimously agree. And once this does happen, those who still believe in American democracy will need to be vigilant and proactive in defending the only branch of government that currently stands between democracy and autocracy.

But there is an additional layer of complexity to this situation. Not only is terrorism going to continue to threaten the West, but Trump’s rhetoric and travel ban themselves will exacerbate the threat. Indeed, Trump has already appeared in propaganda by al-Shabab, the al-Qaida affiliate in Somalia, and as Jeb Bush judiciously noted during the Republican primary, we need allies in the Middle East to help combat the problem of terrorism overseas. Implementing what appears to be a “Muslim ban” will only serve to alienate these groups.

Just recently, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, thanked Trump for showing “the true face” of the U.S., a claim that further reinforces the self-fulfilling prophecy of a “clash of civilizations.”

Another egregious consequence of this debacle is that it will fuel Islamophobia in the U.S. — that is, feed an irrational fear of Muslims, the overwhelming majority of whom are peaceful. There are multiple ingredients that contribute to radicalization, and identity crises are one. When someone feels isolated and ostracized from society, for example, because the president suggests that Muslim terrorist attacks occur so often that they don’t even get covered, that person is more likely to find extremist ideologies palatable. This is a fact of human psychology in general, not of Islam in particular.

Once adopted, such ideologies can lead otherwise moderate believers to pursue atrocities like the San Bernardino attack or the Bowling Green massacre — if, that is, the latter had actually happened. (It didn’t.)

As Steven Pinker states in an interview, Trump does indeed pose a threat to democracy. He adds:

I think that after 240 years, American democracy is too robust to be overturned by one man. To convert a democracy into an autocracy requires disabling an enormous, distributed infrastructure: legislators who have to respond to constituents and lobbyists, judges with reputations to uphold, bureaucrats who are responsible for the missions of their departments, and the tens of millions of people who have to carry out their jobs in order that the government and society function.

The point is that Americans must not let down our guard, not even for a moment. It will ultimately be up to us — the voters, our representatives and the judges who constrain Trump’s haphazard executive orders — to fight the inevitable backlash against democracy after the next terrorist attack occurs.

What Happens After the Next Big Terrorist Attack? Trump Is Paving the Way Toward a Terrifying Crackdown



Globalisation and Economic Nationalism

There has been a revival of nationalism in western democracies. The outcome of the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump as president of the US are two major manifestations of this tendency. In Europe this trend began in the 1990s, and it has been associated with increasing support for radical right parties (Mudde 2007).


In recent paper, we show that globalisation is a key determinant of this phenomenon (Colantone and Stanig 2017). We focus on the competitive shock created by the surge in imports from China between 1988 and 2007. This shock has had a heterogeneous impact across European regions that depends on the historical composition of employment in the region. Using data on legislative elections in 15 western European countries, we find that stronger regional exposure to the import shock determines an increase in support for nationalist parties, a general shift to the right in the electorate, and an increase in support for radical right parties. The policy proposals of these parties tend to bundle support for domestic free market policies with a strong protectionist stance, a combination that has come to be referred to as ‘economic nationalism’. As parties offering this policy mix become increasingly successful, we might see the end – and possibly even a reversal – of globalisation.

The Chinese Import Shock

We built a region-specific indicator for the exposure to Chinese imports following the methodology introduced by Autor et al. (2013). This combined information on yearly national imports from China, by industry, with data on the historical composition of employment in each region. The exposure of regions to the growth in Chinese imports depends on their ex ante industry specialisation. Intuitively, larger import shocks would happen in regions which have a larger share of their workers in the manufacturing sector. Given the same share of manufacturing workers, the variation in exposure to Chinese imports between regions would depend on differences in the specialisation of each region’s manufacturing industry.

The shock would be stronger in regions where relatively more workers were initially employed in those industries in which growth in imports from China was strongest (for example, textiles or electronic goods), and in years when the surge in Chinese imports in those industries was largest.

We performed the analysis at the NUTS-2 level of regional disaggregation. In total, our sample included 198 regions across 15 countries.1 Depending on the country, we sourced employment data either from Eurostat or from national sources. Trade data come from Eurostat Comext or from CEPII-BACI. The industry level of disaggregation is the NACE Rev. 1.1 subsection level. Figure 1 displays the variation in the import shock across regions, based on average regional figures; darker shades indicate stronger exposure.

Figure 1 Map of the Chinese import shock across regions



District-Level Evidence

We assembled election data at the district level for 76 general elections between 1988 and 2007. Data comes from the Constituency-Level Election Archive (CLEA, Kollman et al. 2016), the Global Election Database (GED, Brancati 2016), and national sources. For each district, in each election, we had information on vote shares at the party level.

We linked election results with ideology scores for each party so that we could assess the ideological leaning of a district in an election. To do this we used data from the Comparative Manifesto Project (CMP), which attributes policy positions by using content analysis of party election manifestos. Following the established methodology used by Laver and Budge (1992) and Lowe et al. (2011), we computed two scores for each party in each election: a ‘nationalism’ score, and a ‘right-wing positioning’ score. We then combined these ideology scores with party vote shares to compute several district-level summaries for each election.

We computed, for both nationalism and right positioning:

The district-level weighted average
The median voter score and
The combined vote share of parties above the national median position on that dimension.

Finally, we also computed one district-level summary to address directly the connection between globalisation and radical right success. This was the vote share of radical right parties. We identified these parties using earlier research.2 Figure 2 shows the growth in the vote share for these parties over the sample; each point in the figure is a 3-year moving average.

Figure 2 Vote share for radical right parties



To investigate the impact of globalisation on voting, we regressed the district-level summaries on the region-specific Chinese import shock, computed for the two years prior to each election. To account for the potential endogeneity of the import shock, we instrumented Chinese imports to Europe using Chinese imports to the US, as in Autor et al. (2013), Colantone et al. (2015), and Bloom et al. (2016), among others. This strategy aims to capture the variation in Chinese imports that is due to changes in supply conditions in China, rather than the changes that are due to endogenous domestic factors in Europe. We always included election fixed effects to control for factors that affect all districts of a country at a given point in time – for instance, national economic performance. Independently on the specific summary indicator we employed, we found that a stronger import shock led to:

  • An increase in support for nationalist parties

  • A shift to the right in the electorate and

  • An increase in support for radical right parties.


Our research predicts that a region at the 75th percentile of the import shock would display support for radical right parties by 0.7 percentage points more than a region at the 25th percentile, ceteris paribus. Considering that the average vote share for radical right parties is 5%, with a standard deviation of 7%, this result is not negligible.

Our results contribute to an emerging body of research on the electoral consequences of globalisation. For the US, others have already investigated the effects of trade exposure on polarisation, turnout, and the anti-incumbent vote (Autor et al. 2016, Che et al. 2016, Margalit, 2011, Jensen et al. 2015). In France, Malgouyres (2014) investigated the effect on radical right support, and Dippel et al. (2016) did the same for Germany. In our previous work, we have also adopted a similar identification strategy to show a positive effect of the Chinese import shock on support for the ‘Leave’ option in the Brexit referendum (Colantone and Stanig, 2016a and 2016b).

Individual-Level Evidence

We found additional evidence by using individual-level data from the European Social Survey. Accounting for basic demographic characteristics and election fixed effects, a stronger import shock in the region of residence pushed voters towards more nationalist and conservative policy positions, and increased the probability of support for radical right parties, in line with our district-level evidence. We also investigated, through interaction terms, how the effects of import competition varied across different categories of voters, based on their employment status and occupation. These effects were largely stable across the groups, even when considering service workers and public sector workers, whose jobs were not directly affected by manufacturing imports from China. Our evidence suggests that the impact of import competition was not confined to groups, such as the unemployed or manufacturing workers, which might have been more directly affected by Chinese imports. On the contrary, as globalisation threatens the success and survival of entire industrial districts, the affected communities seem to have voted in a homogeneous way, regardless of each voter’s personal situation.

A More Inclusive Globalisation

Globalisation has caused a surge in support for nationalist and radical right political platforms. This might endanger the survival of the open world of the past 30 years. President Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership seems to be a move in that direction. Yet, a return to protectionism is not likely to solve the problems of those who have lost ground due to globalisation without appropriate compensation of its ‘losers’, and is bound to harm growth especially in emerging economies. The world rather needs a more inclusive model of globalisation.

Globalisation and Economic Nationalism




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