Hi. We're here with Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist of Northern Trust. Carl, great to see you.
Good to be with you.
So since the Brexit vote, there's been a lot of concern about populism. What exactly do we mean by that word?
Populism means different things in different markets, but there are some qualities that unite populists around the world. These are communities that are very skeptical about things like trade. They don't believe that exchanges of goods with other countries is mutually beneficial. They see it as diminishing the manufacturing bases in their countries and hurting employment.
They're skeptical about immigration. They don't see them as useful additions to the labor force or potential innovators within a society. They see them, again, as coming in and hurting a way of life, and also hurting employment. They are very angry with government, who they don't see as listening to their concerns. They're very concerned about so-called experts who try and counter their emotions with facts. And they're just skeptical period about whether the established order, one that has been very good for the economy and markets, is the right one for them.
What were some key events that have fueled this movement?
Well, we've had a lot of disparity in many economies between those who are doing well and those who are doing poorly. And as you look beneath the surface, you do have communities who have had a much harder time getting back to work and finding their way to prosperity. And so it's these communities who have been very susceptible to the message that maybe the best thing to do is turn away from globalization and try and find a different path. Elections, in a series of countries earlier in 2017, threatened to bring populist candidates to power. Fortunately, they were turned away.
So has populism been defeated?
I think it would be very dangerous to embrace that conclusion. While they haven't won leadership positions, they have won increasing representation in national parliaments. And they're going to continue to press their case until, and unless, their concerns are remedied. And I think it is fair to say that many countries do need to do a better job of trying to reach out to those communities who haven't done as well and get them back on a path of prosperity.
So looking ahead, where should we be looking for fresh signs of populism growing in strength?
Well certainly, in the Brexit movement, there's a question of how hard or soft it will be and that will determine how much of the populist agenda is incorporated there. Here in the United States, we're having a lot of discussions over the various trade agreements to which we are parties. The Trans-Pacific Partnership has now passed without our participation. We're looking at NAFTA and our relationships with China. And then overseas, we have elections that will be coming up early next year in Italy, where a populist party is very powerful. So we'll have to see how all of that plays out and whether it has the negative impact, I think, on economic growth that it might.
Carl, thanks for your time as always.
You're very welcome.