Thursday, July 6, 2017

Edward Luce

Edward Luce is the author of The Retreat of Western Liberalism. From his Q&A with Isaac Chotiner at Slate:

One of the most depressing things about your book is that when people like Trump come to power they make every social and economic problem that they were elected to solve much worse. Is there anything that gets you hopeful, or is this just a horrific picture with no upside?

So let me say one unhopeful thing before I say one hopeful thing. The unhopeful thing is that we are living through what my colleague Martin Wolf labels very correctly as pluto-populism. We’ve got a plutocratic sort of class and Trump is executing well. Perhaps he’s not competent enough to execute it, but at any rate he’s hoping to push through, I guess, the most plutocratic fiscal plans we’ve ever seen in terms of the shift of public resources and the tax windfalls for the wealthiest people. That is very, very Latin American. It tends to happen in the most unequal societies with no middle, a big bottom, and a powerful top. And so that’s my fear.

My hope is that we actually do learn as societies from our mistakes. I’m going to give you a really odd example here, which is Iran. There’s just zero chance, as I understand from people who do know Iran well, that a clown like Ahmadinejad could be elected in the foreseeable future back to the presidency. They’ve been through this pantomime and they’ve stuck with Rouhani because they understand—it being in very recent memory—what the theatrical and highly damaging diversions do to their pocketbooks and to their stability as a society. So that’s my hope: that we...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue