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By Philippe Legrain ADD COMMENTS

A big reason why Western politics is in such disarray is voters’ pessimism about the future. 60% of Westerners believe today’s children will be “worse off financially than their parents”. Europeans are particularly gloomy. To paraphrase Hobbes, they expect youngsters’ lives to be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish – and long.

When people doubt that progress is possible, they tend to fear change of any kind. Rather than focusing on opportunities, they see threats everywhere and hold on tighter to what they have. Distributional cleavages come to the fore – toxically so when overlaid with identity clashes.

Western politics can become rosier again, but only if politicians first address the root causes of the gloom. My latest column for Project Syndicate explains what needs to be done.

Posted 01 Jun 2018 in Blog, Europe, Politics, Project Syndicate, United States

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