Donald Trump strikes a nerve among Americans when he slams globalization. Real wages, after all, have stagnated for decades, while corporate profits have gone through the roof. The white middle class of blue-collar workers and small business owners was left behind. Its members now are seeking shelter in the protectionist promises of the Republican presidential candidate.
Such political forces are also gathering on the fringes in Europe, fueled by a chronic euro crisis that gradually has robbed the last optimists in southern Europe and France of all hope and has radicalized jobless industrial laborers. Euro-skepticism and opposition to global free trade have become intertwined.
Were economists mistaken in their assessments of free trade’s impacts? Must one again fear the neoliberals who aim to assist the powerful and the rich in exploiting the working class?