BUSINESS AND SOCIETY | 9
For much of the post-war era, control of major Western
democracies passed from one historic party to another, with
attitudes towards business tilting (though rarely capsizing)
in the handover. But the crash of 2008 has shifted more voters
to the electoral extremes, shown here in the dramatic upward
swing in support for both left- and right-wing populists since the
financial crisis. Driven by widespread rejection of 'elites', populist
politicians at both ends of the spectrum draw support by pledging
to stand up for the marginalised. This often involves intervening
in markets and closing borders. Whether or not they ultimately
win power, populists exert a gravitational pull on political debate;
even if Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen lose, their 'drawbridge
up' ideas are likely to influence whoever emerges victorious in
the Netherlands and France.
* 33 European countries; post-communist states
included from the year of first elections
Source: Timbro (cited in The Economist)
Votes for totalitarian and authoritarian populist parties.
As % of votes in most recent national elections*
But what if it doesn't? Some economists have
suggested such a large cut in corporate tax rates
(from 35 to 15 per cent) would lead to damaging
budget deficits. Others have claimed that his planned
income tax reforms would disproportionately favour
the wealthiest 1 per cent. If, instead of improving
the lot of those who voted him into power, President
Trump increases the gap between the haves and the
have nots, what happens then?
oday just 6 per cent of
people aged 16 to 26 profess
to admire business owners;
change the subject to bankers
and the figure falls to 2 per cent.
Edelman's latest trust barometer reveals the
biggest-ever annual drop in public trust of
institutions and their leaders, with 53 per cent
of respondents saying the current 'system' is
unfair and offers little hope for the future.
If the popular mood rejects the 'statelessness' of
large corporations, it also objects to their apparent
facelessness when things go wrong. In response,
governments and regulators are increasingly
using the threat of personal sanctions as a way
of improving corporate conduct.
53% of respondents to
Edelman's trust barometer say
the current 'system' is unfair
Driving a rise in support
for populists and a shift
in political debate...
powered by PageTiger