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May 07, 2008

The End of Francis Fukuyama?

Interesting piece in the FT on the role of trade in the elections:

Two months ago most analysts discounted the bulk of the anti-trade rhetoric coming from the Democratic presidential race as easy to wriggle out of. But as the race has got tighter and the economy has become an even greater concern to voters, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have become steadily more specific in their pledges...

“The specificity is unprecedented. The longer this process goes on, the more promises these candidates make,” says Christopher Wenk, senior director for international policy at the US Chamber of Commerce, which has been lobbying for further trade liberalisation. “Hopefully . . . they can wiggle their way out.”...

Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History, which many took as a lodestar of the Clintonite 1990s, says the two candidates are only giving voice to much deeper shifts in US political attitudes during the past few years.

“There is a structural change going on,” he says. “American politics goes through generational swings and most of the electorate believes the pendulum has swung too far in a laissez-faire direction in the last two decades. No successful candidate can ignore that.”

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