Sunday, December 4, 2016

Trump’s Win is a Warning: Europe Urgently Needs a New Deal

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policies allowed the United States to avoid the perils of right-wing populism that plunged Europe into war in the 1930s — Europe should learn from his example

It is like a cruel remake: First came globalization with its ensuing golden years; then the crash followed resulting in the crisis of confidence and unbridled popular rage —until eventually, almost everywhere, right-wing Pied Pipers emerged to challenge for power. This happened in the 1920s and ’30s following the great financial crisis, and the pattern appears to be repeating itself today: First came the “party years”, then the crash — however, with one distinctive difference since Election Tuesday: Unlike the European crises of 80 years ago, this time even the USA has been seized with a frightful political shock.

Given these developments, the following question comes to mind: What had the Americans done better in the past — in particular what had former President Franklin D. Roosevelt done better in a comparable historical situation? Elucidating this question could help us understand what went wrong this time. More importantly, it could help us to recognize what the Europeans should hasten to learn without delay, before a similar disaster unfolds (again!) on their continent.

Perhaps better sooner than later, Europe needs a New Deal on the scale employed by Roosevelt to counteract crises, enraged citizens, and fears of an economic crash. A bit of stability masochism and pension cosmetics à la Schäuble, Nahles and Merkel will hardly suffice to stop the rising demagogues.

No comments: