Friday 15 December 2017

2016: the year we retreated from prudence and caution

Normal politics were battered into stupefaction last year - but while the world will not end, we should still be concerned

DONALD TRUMP: The next US president appears to be planning to deliver on his campaign rhetoric. Photo: AP
DONALD TRUMP: The next US president appears to be planning to deliver on his campaign rhetoric. Photo: AP
Colm McCarthy

Colm McCarthy

The Brexit decision and Trump's presidential victory have inspired some apocalyptic year-end commentaries. In the more extreme versions, the EU will break up; Trump will start a trade war with China; and the end of the year morphs into the end of the world.

But the end is not nigh and the full impact of these political shocks will not be clear until some more years have ended.

Trade wars from either source would damage the slow international recovery. The withdrawal of the UK from the European Union is inevitable at this stage and its potential impacts on Ireland have been analysed in several recent reports. It is unclear what form Brexit will take but the omens are not good and a sharp break, with poor transition arrangements, would be least welcome. What happens in the USA could do extra damage.

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