RIETI Report May 2020

Global politics from the view of the political-economy trilemma

Global politics have recently come to the forefront of public consciousness with various countries taking increasingly extreme measures in order to thrive in the global economy of the twenty-first century. This column by RIETI Visiting Fellow Hiroyuki Ito examines the difficult course that countries have ahead of them and the implications of the political-economy trilemma for policymakers who are trying to navigate these turbulent waters.

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Global politics from the view of the political-economy trilemma

ITO HiroyukiVisiting Fellow, RIETI

In recent years, political landscape has been changing drastically in many countries. In the United States, Donald Trump's administration has pushed the "America-first" agendas and prioritized the nation's interest above all else since coming to power in 2017. Regardless of existing trade or other agreements, the administration threatens trading partners with tariff increases or to walk away from negotiations if the conclusions are not favorable to the country. The administration does not shy away from trumpeting the "America First" or anti-globalization creed.

The idea of "our nation first" is not just limited to the U.S. The United Kingdom has been aiming to reclaim its national sovereignty by withdrawing from the European Union (EU). In many other countries, populist governments have arisen, both on the left and the right, touting similar slogans and advocating for de-globalization to recover the economic benefits which they claim has been exploited by foreigners.

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