sexta-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2017

Em defesa da democracia....


Candidatura única pra diretor, chefe de depto e coordenador de curso é um desserviço a democracia puquiana. A democracia precisa do embate de ideias e propostas, seguida do acatamento do resultado e trabalho conjunto entre os candidatos depois das eleições.
 
Nada disto e possível com candidatura única tão ao gosto de regimes políticos inimigos da liberdade...

quarta-feira, 22 de fevereiro de 2017

Nada de novo na Las Vegas do planalto central....



As instituições que  estavam em frangalhos,  agora perderam o fiapo de respeito que ainda tinham entre os eternos otimistas. Confesso que nunca estive entre eles: o judiciário não é conhecido por estar do lado de quem deveria estar, mas um suspeito de ter cometido plagio no STF já e avacalhar demais. Digo suspeito, porque liberal que sou, acredito na presunção da inocencia: cabe ao Estado provar a culpa, todos, ate prova em contrários, somos inocentes. Nestes tempos isto se tornou um detalhe, mas dele não abro mão.

O mais surpreendemente em tudo isto é o silêncio constrangedor da Estatal do Butanta: sonha com o prestigio de Harvard, mas esquece que ele tem como pre-requisito comportar se como ela em caso de suspeita de plagio ou outra má pratica acadêmica.  Sim, sei que o seu comportamento durante a ditatura civil-militar foi vergonhoso mas, por isto mesmo imaginei que não repetiria os mesmos equivocos do passado. Ingenuidade, perhaps, perhaps.


Somente   os que  acreditam  que o bom velhinho desce a chamine para entregar os presentes no fim de ano,  descartam  qualquer  impacto negativo na imagem no país  e na percepção de insegurança juridica. Claro, investidores internacionais estão habituados a negociar com figuras piores, mas em geral elas são previsiveis e procuram manter certa compostura e preocupam se com a sua imagem pública. Não parece ser o caso da gang que tomou de assalto o Estado brasileiro.

Diante desse cenario desolador , so nos resta rezar para que o pior não aconteça. Se é que possível pensar em cenario pior que o que vivemos.... 

terça-feira, 21 de fevereiro de 2017

Pluralismo


Ah! pluralismo, palavra que adoça o discurso  do pensamento mágico em sua peleja contra os cavaleiros do  apocalipse mainstream: a turma de barbaros que  desconhecem a historia e perdem tempo com tolices como teoria econômica, consistencia lógica, matematica e  outros instrumentos a serviço do Capital.

O discurso funciona, naturalmente, porque afinal quem seria contra o pluralismo ou ousaria negar a importância de  historia? Mais conhecimento, é sempre melhor que menos. Elementar meu caro Watson. Elementar.  É a porta de entrada  ao relativismo, para o mundo  em que não há gatos azuis: todos  são cinzas com o mesmo miado.


Infelizmente, como o adjetivo popular, usado no antigo imperio sovietico,  para qualificar sua forma peculiar de democracia,  o pluralismo raramente sobrevive ao famoso teste do pudim.

Depois do annus horribilis

Meu último artigo para o jornal da Arquidiocese  de São Paulo
 
 

O ano de 2016 apenas terminou, mas já é possível classificá-lo como um ano terrível, em diferentes áreas da vida nacional. A tragédia chapecoense é a mais recente e a mais dolorosa, sem dúvida alguma. Na esfera política, a crise foi se avolumando ao longo do ano até transformar-se em crise institucional que, temo, nos fará companhia por algum tempo, até o seu desfecho final que rezo para não ser trágico.
Na economia, a mais longa recessão da nossa história econômica não dá sinais de se arrefecer: a expectativa de que ela mudaria de curso, com a posse definitiva da nova administração, mostrou ser apenas mais um exercício de autoengano dos analistas econômicos, entre os quais me incluo. Imaginávamos que os novos inquilinos melhorariam as expectativas dos agentes econômicos, o que, por sua vez, traduzir-se-ia em recuperação, ainda que tênue, da economia. Não contávamos, naturalmente, com a queda em série de membros do novo gabinete presidencial e, com a fragilidade das instituições que aumentaram, infelizmente, a insegurança jurídica.
Nesta inacreditável algaravia nacional, questões fundamentais para a retomada do crescimento econômico transformaram se em verdadeiro fla-flu, em que a razão cedeu espaço para emoções e discursos inflamados. Estamos falando, naturalmente, da controvérsia a respeito da PEC 241. Em que pese todos os seus limites, ela coloca em discussão uma questão importante: a descoordenação crescente entre gastos e receitas públicas e a necessidade de se colocar um teto aos gastos. Como fazê-lo? O que incluir? Por quanto tempo? São questões importantes que devem ser debatidas com serenidade, já que a partir delas formata-se a sociedade que desejamos construir no país: mais inclusiva, ou a nossa velha conhecida fundada na defesa de privilégios?
A questão da Previdência é outro tópico que promete debates acalorados, mas que se trata de um problema real que deve ser enfrentado. Estamos vivendo mais, com isto o número de trabalhadores aposentados mantidos pelo número de trabalhadores na ativa tende a aumentar e constitui-se, portanto, em verdadeira bomba relógio. A solução do problema passa, necessariamente, pela discussão do tempo de contribuição, valor da contribuição e valor do benefício. Para que não se perpetuem injustiças, é fundamental incluir na reforma a revisão de privilégios inaceitáveis de castas bem organizadas do setor público civil e militar.
A proposta apresentada pelo atual governo acerta ao definir uma idade mínima, mas erra ao escolher 65 anos, haja vista a expectativa de vida dos brasileiros ser de 75,5 anos. Erra, também, na definição do tempo mínimo de contribuição. Esses dois erros implicam em redução no valor do benefício, já que para receber aposentadoria integral seria necessário trabalhar 49 anos.  O financiamento da aposentadoria rural ainda não está definido, mas é de fundamental importância que ela seja mantida.
Felizmente, há boas notícias em relação à inflação, que continua caindo, e o Banco Central parece ter finalmente reconhecido que esta queda permite uma redução da taxa de juros, que deverá contribuir com o esforço de evitar que a nossa longa recessão se transforme em depressão, o que nos levaria a sentir saudades do annus horribilis.

   
Fonte: Jornal "O São Paulo", edição 3134, 18 a 24 de janeiro de 2017.

sábado, 17 de dezembro de 2016

Intelligence experts accuse Cambridge forum of Kremlin links




A group of intelligence experts, including a former head of MI6, has cut ties with fellow academics at Cambridge university, in a varsity spy scare harking back to the heyday of Soviet espionage at the heart of the British establishment.



Sir Richard Dearlove, the ex-chief of the Secret Intelligence Service and former master of Pembroke college, Stefan Halper, a senior foreign policy adviser at the White House to presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, and Peter Martland, a leading espionage historian, have resigned as conveners of the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar — an academic forum for former practitioners and current researchers of western spycraft — because of concerns over what they fear could be a Kremlin-backed operation to compromise the group.


Mr Halper said he had stepped down due to “unacceptable Russian influence on the group”.


The seminar, established by Christopher Andrew, the official historian of MI5 and former chairman of the history faculty at the university, is one of the most respected networks in its field.


Recent attendees at its discussions, held every Friday at Corpus Christi college, have included Mike Flynn, president-elect Donald Trump’s choice as US national security adviser, and Sir Simon Fraser, the recently retired permanent undersecretary at the Foreign Office.




Sir Richard and his colleagues suspect that Veruscript — a newly established digital publishing house that has provided funding to set up a new journal of intelligence and to cover some of the seminar’s costs — may be acting as a front for the Russian intelligence services.


They fear that Russia may be seeking to use the seminar as an impeccably-credentialed platform to covertly steer debate and opinion on high-level sensitive defence and security topics, two people familiar with their thinking said, speaking on condition of anonymity.


The Financial Times has been unable to independently substantiate their claims — and no concrete evidence has been provided to back them.


The three stepped down as conveners before the start of the Michaelmas term. Sir Richard confirmed his resignation as convener but declined to comment further. Mr Martland did not respond to a request for comment.


Their concerns come against a backdrop of growing paranoia about Russian subversion in the west. With relations between London and Moscow at their lowest ebb since the height of the cold war, Britain’s spy agencies are working overtime to try and counter Russian covert action in the UK.


Spurred by the mounting concern over Russian meddling in the US presidential election, western spooks are rushing to try and get a fuller picture of the Kremlin’sstrategy for manipulating information to influence opinion.


A senior Whitehall security official said that while the authorities could not comment on specific investigations into covert Russian meddling, they were nevertheless aware that suspicions such as those flagged at Cambridge were “the kind of thing that we are aware of being of concern”.


Reliable evidence of Russia’s information war to back up such assertions has been in short supply, however. Indeed, the dispute at Cambridge revives uncomfortable memories of cold war fearmongering — and has sharply divided dons at the intelligence seminar.


While the febrile intellectual atmosphere at Cambridge in the 1930s — charged with radical new socialist thinking and invigorated by a fractious international environment — was an ideal recruiting ground for young, charismatic Soviet agents such as Kim Philby and Guy Burgess, whose work was the acme of cold war intelligence gathering, the modern academic milieu is a less obvious target for Russian espionage.


Prof Andrew, whose books on the KGB are among the most exhaustive on the history of Russian information warfare as well as the infamous Cambridge spy ring of the 1930s, said the suggestion of a Russian covert operation to compromise the seminar was “absurd”.


The seminar is “entirely unclassified” Prof Andrew pointed out, adding that the new Journal of Intelligence and Terrorism was not formally affiliated to the gathering.


Some of the academics the FT spoke to suggested that the dispute over the seminar might be tinged by an element of competition: Sir Richard and his colleagues who have departed from the seminar run a separate organisation — the Cambridge Security Initiative — which pursues a similar, though more commercially-oriented, agenda.


The CSI, which also holds regular briefings and discussions, counts Sir Iain Lobban and Sir David Omand, both former heads of the electronic surveillance agency GCHQ, as members of its advisory board.


Prof Andrew was co-chair of CSI alongside Sir Richard but resigned in the spring. He said his resignation was unrelated to any matters regarding Veruscript. All of the individuals the FT spoke to emphasised that they hoped the two organisations would have an amicable future relationship.




Neil Kent, the lead convener of the seminar and editor-in-chief of the new journal also stepped back from the CSI. Mr Kent, a linguist and expert in Russian culture, said it was “inconceivable” that the Russian government was in any way involved.


“Cambridge is a wonderful place of conspiracy theories but the idea that there is a Machiavellian plot here is ridiculous,” he said. “The idea any of us would be involved in anything that smacks of Russian influence . . . it’s real Reds under the bed stuff — the whole thing is ludicrous.”


Mr Kent is responsible for building the links between the seminar and the organisation at the centre of the controversy, Veruscript. It was established by a friend of Mr Kent’s from Cambridge, Gleb Cheglakov, a Russian physicist.


According to Mr Kent, the new journal will cost roughly £50,000 a year to run and, although start-up funding is being supplied by Veruscript, ultimately it will draw on other sources of finance, to ensure its independence.


Mr Kent said he did not know where Veruscript’s money came from.


Corporate records show Veruscript is run by a company called AGC Partners, based in London.


Mr Cheglakov told the FT that the company was set up by himself and his wife using their own money. The company, which boasts a slick website and employs about a dozen people, claims it will shake up the academic publishing business by paying for peer reviews of its articles by approved academics.


AGC Partner’s corporate records show it was established in 2012. Mr Cheglakov said he was its cofounder although it is legally fully owned by Nazik Ibraimova, his Kygryz wife. Ms Ibraimova could not be reached for comment. The FT attempted to reach the company a number of times by phone and email.


Corporate records show Ms Ibraimova initially funded the company with a series of £50,000 loans made in six-monthly increments. In the past year, the company has significantly expanded. Its accounts show a loss of £410,000 in 2015, the last year for which figures have been filed.


“As we are in start-up mode, all journals are currently operating at a loss with Veruscript picking up the costs,” Mr Cheglakov said in a statement. The business is looking to significantly expand, he added. “[We] will publish journals from across the research spectrum: sciences, humanities and social sciences . . . We are a truly community-based publisher. [The] Journal of Intelligence and Terrorism Studies is our first journal to launch but we are also in the process of launching journals in areas as diverse as Functional Nanomaterials, Quantum Matter and Energy Storage.”


Mr Cheglakov did not specifically address the question of any connection between the company and the Russian government.


He stressed that all of the journals backed by Veruscript would be completely editorially independent of the organisation. “We aim to be a force of good within the publishing industry,” he said.


Fonte: FT

sexta-feira, 18 de novembro de 2016

Wall Street looks like a winner under Donald Trump



In a ranking of global financial centres last month, published by Z/Yen, London topped the think-tank’s league, a whisker above New York.

Little surprise there: London has led several league tables in recent years. But when Z/Yen publishes its index in a couple of years’ time — in a Trumpian world — there is a good chance those rankings will have changed.

For one point about last week’s US presidential election result is that Donald Trump’s policies are likely to make New York more attractive as a financial centre. And that could make London a relative loser — unless British authorities are ready to fight back.

Why? The reason is not necessarily any deliberate “plan” Mr Trump holds for Wall Street; he does not seem to have one. He barely mentioned the financial sector on the campaign trail — and most bankers ignored him back. Indeed, the industry donated only $737,000 to him this year, compared with $78m for Hillary Clinton and $33m for Jeb Bush.

But what could raise New York’s status is a confluence of four crucial factors.

The first is obvious: London’s future is being undermined by uncertainties unleashed by Brexit. In public, international bankers insist London remains highly attractive. This week, for example, Jes Staley, Barclays chief executive, pointed to its “gravitational pull”. But in private, senior bankers are preparing to move at least some of their activities when Brexit hits. And, while continental European centres such as Frankfurt and Paris are pitching to grab business, many senior bankers say America looks more attractive, given its infrastructure, talent pool and flexible labour laws.

“It is pretty unlikely anything like what we call ‘London’ could be replicated in the foreseeable future in one place in the EU,” Jon Cunliffe, deputy governor of the Bank of England, told the House of Lords last month. “But it already exists in New York.” Or as Mark Boleat, policy chairman of the City of London Corporation, observes: “The biggest beneficiary of any job losses in the UK will be New York.”

However, Brexit is not the only factor here; a second is the regulatory and political climate. A decade ago Michael Bloomberg, then New York mayor, commissioned a McKinsey report that concluded London was grabbing business from New York because it had a more welcoming regulatory climate.

No longer. Since the 2008 crisis British regulators have, quite rightly, implemented reform. Bank levies have been imposed amid a political backlash. Of course, regulation has been tightened in America too; look at the hefty Dodd-Frank rules. But in America the bank-bashing has waned. And now Mr Trump’s policy team are not only muttering about rolling back some reforms; they are also considering bringing bankers into the administration. Jamie Dimon, head of JPMorgan Chase, has been mooted as possible Treasury secretary. The symbolism is profound.

A third factor is the health of banks. In recent years American banks have cleaned up their balance sheets and recapitalised themselves. The Europeans have lagged behind, which means American banks are resurgent on the world stage. This is likely to be magnified if Mr Trump loosens regulations. If the Federal Reserve raises rates next month — and Janet Yellen, Fed chair, hinted on Thursday that it would — that would bolster US banks’ fee income.

The US economy is likely to grow, partly as a result of Mr Trump’s reflation plans, which could in itself provide a fourth supportive factor. After all, rising business confidence and activity typically boosts demand for financial services. In Europe, by contrast, economic gloom and intractable political splits have undermined confidence.

“Anything which can move to the US in the coming years will move — the US is ultimately going to be a huge beneficiary,” Gary Cohn, Goldman Sachs president, said this week. “As far as [financial and business] investment in Europe is concerned, that is going to be on hold.”

Of course, some European observers will dismiss this as a self-interested sales pitch. If Trumpian policies spark US social unrest or geopolitical uncertainty, or if Mr Trump unleashes a debt binge that goes bust, that will not create stability.

But, while those risks are real, the crucial point now is this: whatever Europeans think of Mr Trump, they need to recognise that animal spirits are rising in New York, and this is likely to boost finance and the standing of Wall Street. If London wants to fight back, the British authorities need to find a way to unleash some animal spirits of their own. Bickering about Brexit is not a good place to start.




Gillian Tett




Fonte: FT

quarta-feira, 16 de novembro de 2016

Australia snubs US by backing China push for Asian trade deal







Australia is throwing its weight behind China’s efforts to pursue new trade deals in the Asia-Pacific region amid a growing acknowledgement the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is dead in the wake of Donald Trump’s election victory.

Steven Ciobo, Australia’s trade mininister, told the Financial Times that Canberra would work to conclude new agreement among 16 Asian and Pacific countries that excludes the US.

He said Australia would also support a separate proposal, the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, which Beijing hopes to advance at this week’s Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Peru.

“Any move that reduces barriers to trade and helps us facilitate trade, facilitate exports and drive economic growth and employment is a step in the right direction,” Mr Ciobo said Wednesday.

Mr Trump put opposition to the TPP, which the US and 11 other countries agreed to this year, at the heart of his presidential campaign and his election has all but killed the prospects of its ratification by the US Congress. This has offered Beijing, which was excluded from the pact, an opportunity to argue for faster adoption of the broader FTAAP, a move foreign policy analysts say would strengthen China’s influence in the region.

Australia’s decision to back China’s vision comes amid soul-searching in Australia about the impact a Trump presidency will have on its long-established military and strategic alliance with Washington.

On Wednesday the opposition Labor party said Mr Trump’s election marked a “change point” requiring a careful consideration of Australia’s foreign policy and global interests. It is calling for more engagement with Australia’s Asian partners, although the party says the US-Australian alliance is bigger than any one person and will endure a Trump presidency.

Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s prime minister, has reassured the public that the alliance will continue under Mr Trump. After phoning the billionaire to congratulate him on his election victory, Mr Turnbull told reporters Mr Trump would view the world in “a very practical and pragmatic way”.

Australia’s military alliance with the US dates back to 1951 when both countries signed the Anzus treaty, along with New Zealand. However, Australian troops have fought alongside US forces in every major military conflict since the second world war.

James Curran, a professor at Sydney University and author of a new book on the Australia-US alliance, said the elevation of Mr Trump to the White House would test the alliance but would survive his presidency.

“Labor's call for a rethink shows they might finally be rediscovering the foreign policy tradition of the Whitlam, Hawke and Keating era, which stressed greater freedom of movement for Australia within and at times without the alliance,” he said. “The apocalyptic view that the alliance will fall apart is alarmist.”

Mr Ciobo said he would not comment on whether US failure to ratify the TPP would undermine Washington’s influence in the region. He said he had sought a bilateral meeting with the US trade representatives at the Apec meeting in Peru to advocate ratification of the TPP.

“Australia does not shy away from being an advocate about the multitude of benefits that flow from liberalising trade,” he said. “If the TPP does not come into effect it will mean there will be higher barriers to trade, which of course means you have a more subdued trading environment.”



Fonte: FT

terça-feira, 15 de novembro de 2016

Three ways to make sense of the dollar in uncertain times



The only reliable guide to the dollar’s value in the wake of Donald Trump’s electoral victory is the wisdom of legendary investor Bernard Baruch about the stock market: it will fluctuate. If the prospects for the US economy have never been so uncertain, then the prospects for the dollar similarly have never been so uncertain.

Still, we can attempt to make sense of this scenario from three angles. A first is from the vantage point of US fiscal and monetary policies. One thing we know is that a more expansionary fiscal policy is coming. It may take the form of tax cuts for the wealthy and tax credits for investors; or it may be a more balanced programme, including a significant rise in infrastructure spending.

Either way, growth and inflation are likely to accelerate, and the US Federal Reserve will respond by raising interest rates sooner and faster. We know from the Reagan era that a mix of loose fiscal and tight monetary policies makes for a strong dollar. No surprise, then, that investors are bidding up the greenback.

But we also know that doubts about debt sustainability can lead those investors to think twice. Large, unfunded tax cuts will heighten their doubts. Questions about fiscal sustainability will be particularly troubling to investors in US Treasury bonds, given Mr Trump’s offhand comments about renegotiating the debt.

Thus the macroeconomic policy mix should be dollar supportive in the short run but dollar subversive in the longer term. If markets are myopic, then the dollar will continue to strengthen for the moment. But if investors look forward, that moment will be relatively brief. Anyone care to bet on its duration?

A second perspective flows from the likelihood that the new administration will adopt protectionist policies. Taxing and otherwise discouraging imports will strengthen the US trade accounts, and a smaller trade deficit will be dollar positive. The increased price of imports will translate into modestly higher inflation, again encouraging the Fed to raise interest rates sooner and enhancing the appeal of dollar-denominated assets.

But those same trade policies run the risk of provoking foreign retaliation, with precisely the opposite effect. New tariffs will also reduce the efficiency of US production by disrupting global supply chains. If the result is slower growth, investing in the US and the dollar will be less attractive. Hence the new administration’s trade policies are likely to be dollar positive in the short run and dollar negative in the longer term.

A third perspective is the dollar’s haven status. The greenback benefits from uncertainty. Even when the US is the source of the problem, its currency benefits. The US Treasury market is the most liquid financial market in the world, and there is nothing investors value more in a crisis than liquidity. Thus some will argue that heightened uncertainty from Mr Trump’s accession to power will benefit the dollar.

This view fails to appreciate the deeper roots of haven status. These go beyond deep and liquid markets. The policies of the central bank issuing the currency and the government standing behind it must also be sound and stable.

A currency is regarded as a haven only if the country issuing it is geopolitically secure. It must have a strong military but it also must have strong alliances. The pound was the haven currency before the dollar because Britannia ruled the waves and because Britain successfully constructed a web of geopolitical alliances.

So whether Mr Trump adopts policies that heighten trade tension with China, scales back US foreign commitments and turns his back on Nato will tell the tale. The fate of the dollar, and potentially much more, will turn on the answer.



Barry Eichengreen is professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of ‘Exorbitant Privilege’



Fonte: FT

Donald Trump’s false promises to his supporters

Will Donald Trump benefit the enraged white working class that brought him into the White House? To answer this, one must examine his plans and the desires of congressional Republicans. One must also consider how these plans might affect the world economy. The conclusion is straightforward: some people will indeed benefit but the white working class will not be among them. Republicans have long stoked rage they do not assuage. Mr Trump has taken this approach in new directions.

Huge, permanent and regressive tax cuts seem the one certainty. It is something on which Mr Trump and congressional Republicans agree. The revised Trump plan would reduce the top individual income tax rate to 33 per cent and the corporate tax rate to 15 per cent. It would also eliminate the estate tax. The highest-income taxpayers — 0.1 per cent of the population, those with incomes over $3.7m in 2016 dollars — would receive an average cut of more than 14 per cent of after-tax income. The poorest fifth’s taxes would fall by an average of 0.8 per cent of taxed income. To those who hath, it shall be given.

Mr Trump (much less so the congressional Republicans) plans to increase infrastructure spending. This is desirable, though it would have made even more sense if Republicans had supported such a programme in the midst of the Great Recession. But as noted by Lawrence Summers, former US Treasury secretary, the Trump plan relies mainly on private investment. Experience elsewhere suggests this often leads to exploitation of taxpayers and a failure to put into effect public investments that deliver high social benefits but have limited commercial returns.

The net effect of these plans would be a large rise in fiscal deficits. Calculations by the Tax Policy Center at the Brookings think-tank suggest that by 2020 the deficit would increase by 3 per cent of gross domestic product. With current forecasts as the baseline and ignoring any additional spending, this would mean a deficit of around 5.5 per cent of GDP in 2020. Cumulatively, the increase in federal debt by 2026 might be 25 per cent of GDP.

Congressional Republicans such as Paul Ryan would surely demand matching cuts in spending. Annual federal outlays are close to 20 per cent of GDP. Spending on health, income support, social security, defence and net interest absorbed 88 per cent of this in 2015. Elimination of spending on all else (a catastrophic mistake) would merely halve the prospective deficit. In sum, the plan’s logic leads towards either big increases in federal debt relative to GDP or sharp cuts in spending on programmes on which Mr Trump’s supporters depend.

The envisaged rise in US fiscal deficits would however be expansionary, even though the concentration of the cuts on the wealthiest would limit this effect. Still, a jump in US fiscal deficits would accelerate rises in US short-term interest rates. Mr Trump could hardly complain since he has attacked the Federal Reserve’s low rates. Yet, as Desmond Lachman of the American Enterprise Institute notes, the world economy is fragile. A swift rise in US interest rates might destabilise it.

Furthermore, the combination of fiscal loosening with monetary tightening would mean a stronger dollar and a rising current account deficit in the medium term. The US would re-emerge as the global buyer of last resort, so helping the world’s structural mercantilists: China, Germany and Japan. A strong dollar and rising external deficits would, as in the early 1980s, increase protectionist pressures — Ronald Reagan’s administration was quite protectionist in its first term. The decision to launch the Uruguay round of multilateral trade negotiations to liberalise world trade was then the response.

This time, however, a strong dollar would reinforce the bias towards protectionism of the Trump administration. But protection against imports would raise the currency’s value further, shifting the adjustment on to unprotected sectors — above all, on to competitive exporters. In all, a strong dollar must weaken the manufacturing Mr Trump seeks to help.

A likely response would be to cajole the Fed into slowing monetary tightening. Janet Yellen’s term as Fed chair expires in 2018. Her successor could be told that the 4 per cent growth mentioned by Mr Trump has to be attained. The last time such growth was achieved over a five-year period was before the crash of 2000 — an ominous warning. If the Fed tried to achieve this goal, it might trigger inflation, financial instability or, more likely, both. In all this there seem to be few, if any, gains for Mr Trump’s working-class supporters.

The president-elect has also promised to eliminate Obamacare and most environmental and financial regulations. It is hard to believe any of this would succour the prospects of the working class. They are more likely to suffer from even worse health cover, a dirtier environment, more predatory behaviour by financial institutions and, at worst, even another financial crisis. Protectionism, too, will fail to help most of his supporters. Many depend on cheap imported goods. Many would be badly hurt by the dire results of a tit-for-tat global trade war. Meanwhile, rapidly rising productivity would still ensure a steady fall in the share of manufacturing in US employment, despite protection.

Mr Trump promises a burst of infrastructure spending, regressive tax cuts, protectionism, cuts in federal spending and radical deregulation. A big rise in infrastructure spending would indeed help construction workers. But little else in these plans would help the working class. Overall, his plans might indeed generate a brief economic surge. But the longer-term consequences are likely to be grim, not least for his angry, but fooled, supporters. Next time, they might be even angrier. Where that might lead is terrifying.

Martin Wolf

Fonte: FT