Countless words have been written about the U.S. election. Hillary Clinton looked like the sure winner, and the capital markets knew what to expect: more of the same. Only a few sectors would be affected: for example, the drugs pharmaceutical industry, which explains the underperformance of recent months.
Now the tension is mounting. Donald Trump has been gaining ground in recent polls, and although it still seems unlikely, he might win. The Brexit vote showed how unreliable opinion polls can be.
Just like in Britain, many people in the United States have lost out from globalization and been forgotten by the political elites. The Internet billionaire Peter Thiel, who is of German origin, described their miserable situation succinctly in a speech: stagnant income, exploding costs for health and education, meager retirement provisions, high indebtedness and economic policies that encourage bubbles – first stocks, then real estate – to create the illusion that prosperity is being created. Those are plenty of reasons to call for a fundamental change of policy.
American economists are deeply skeptical whether Mr. Trump is the right person for the job. His fundamental rejection of conventional policy approaches fits in with a wider trend of mistrust of free trade, of the European Union and of the established media – in short, of the mainstream.