Across the world, a rising tide of nationalism and protectionism seems to have taken root. Trade has become a dirty word in even the US election cycle. The attack on free trade has been accompanied by an equivalent attack on free market capitalism. But free markets have done more for humanity than any other system. Global growth increased by 1,000% between 1947 and 2001. Worryingly, we are now witnessing a slow-down.
If Britain votes to leave the EU, it will be to François Hollande that all eyes will turn. You can’t help feeling that the French President might almost prefer Brexit: get the Brits out, then reinforce the old ideas of European Union before they fall apart. His rivals among the French political elite are less integrationalist and more wary. France may envy the democratic choice the British face, but it also lives in fear of the consequences.
After more than 20 hours of debate, Brazilian Senators voted by 55 to 22 to suspend President Dilma Rousseff. Rousseff's impeachment could be the catalyst Brazil needs to root out corruption and to restore stability to a country wracked by debt and inflation. Or it could signal a spiral into lawlessness and civil unrest. The backlash against those who have turned Brazil’s economy from an emerging giant into a cautionary tale will not end here.
David Cameron has been caught on tape insulting visiting dignitaries - describing Nigeria and Afghanistan as "fantastically corrupt". But his remarks were not untrue. The countries were ranked at 136 and 167 respectively on the corruption perception index. Cameron and President Buhari of Nigeria still seem to see eye to eye on their joint mission to tackle corruption, going into Cameron's now well-advertised anti-corruption summit this week.
As the authority of elites fades, as Establishment values cede to popular ones, views and identities can become so magnificently diverse as to be mutually uncomprehending. When all the barriers to equality have been removed; when everyone is equal; when elites are despised and full license is established to do “whatever one wants,” you arrive at late-stage democracy. This, Plato warned, is the time when a would-be tyrant often seizes his moment.
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