Andrew Spannaus analyzes the anti-establishment revolt across the West in this excerpt from his new book, “Original Sins. Globalization, Populism, and the Six Contradictions Facing the European Union.”
In 2016, the world began to change, with the Brexit referendum in the U.K. and the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president. In both cases, an insurrection of “regular people” against the structures of political and media power upset the political balance of two of the leading countries of the Western world.
And the revolt didn’t stop there. It continued in 2017 and 2018 with a series of elections across continental Europe that saw the growth of protest movements and candidates willing to challenge the system of globalization that until recently seemed inevitable.
The anti-establishment revolt that has spread across the Western world is closely linked to the gradual transformation of the economic structure of the nations on both sides of the Atlantic over a period of decades, from one focused principally on production, to a system based increasingly on finance.