Monday 18 June 2018

The economy doesn't pay dividends in global politics

Even as the great and good debated world affairs at Davos, the conventional wisdom does not always apply, writes Dan O'Brien

President Donald Trump with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the World Economic Forum in Davos. In
different ways, both have experienced the volatility of voters and the unpredictability of financial markets. Photo: AP/Vucci
President Donald Trump with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the World Economic Forum in Davos. In different ways, both have experienced the volatility of voters and the unpredictability of financial markets. Photo: AP/Vucci
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

Bad economic times cause politics to sour and people to give their votes to parties offering simplistic or illiberal solutions to society's ills. This is a commonly held view now.

As common is the view that bad political outcomes can lead to bad economic outcomes. There is a global industry of "political risk" analysis which advises companies on how uncertainty and instability in politics can negatively affect their businesses.

Last week political and business leaders from around the world gathered at the annual Davos meeting. How politics and economics interact was much discussed, as it always is at the Swiss event.

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