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When Populism Comes Home to Roost

9 18 21

ROME – Debates about the euro usually contain proposals for complex financial arrangements to build “resilience” against the next economic shock. Yet the shock that we are currently witnessing is political. Populists are making gains across the European Union, and Italy, a founding member, is now governed by a Euroskeptic coalition comprising the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and nationalist League party.

Jun 13, 2018 Joseph E. Stiglitz worries that the next currency crisis will meet the same rigid and feckless German response as the last.

Jun 11, 2018 Elizabeth Drew thinks President Trump's recent assertions of quasi-monarchical power reflect his growing desperation.

Jun 6, 2018 Minxin Pei worries that the US lacks the leadership needed to manage a geopolitical rivalry.

As is always true when anti-establishment forces take power in a G7 or EU country, the question now is what comes next, and whether there is a route back to normalcy. In Italy’s case, it is too soon to tell. But in the meantime, we can reflect on what lessons there may be for Europeans as they attempt to contain the populist tide.

The main lesson is that European countries cannot face down today’s resurgence of populist nationalism and jingoism unless they cooperate. Unfortunately, the response to populist gains so far has been similar to the beggar-thy-neighbor response to protectionism in the 1930s, with each country trying to shift the problem on to others until it comes back to bite everyone.

In 2015, Italy’s then-prime........

© Project Syndicate