Politics can often feel like a tug of war between two opposing tribes. On one end, small government conservatives pull society towards free markets and away from the forces of “big government”. On the other, social democrats pull with equal tenacity towards social welfare and away from the reactionary forces of austerity.
It turns out this conventional ideological spectrum is based on a mistake. Not only are free markets and social welfare compatible – if anything we should start to think of them as mutually
Think back to when China became a member of the World Trade Organisation in 2001, and inundated the developed world with cheap imports. By one estimate, two million US manufacturing jobs were displaced in short order, concentrated in parts of the Midwest that were already deindustrialising due to automation. Voters in these regions subsequently became much more polarised, supporting nativist members of congress, and (eventually) spurred the rise of for Donald Trump.