The political earthquake represented by the election of President Donald Trump and the UK’s Brexit vote has fueled a belief that political and intellectual elites have lost sight of where society is going, and that the relationship between them and the rest of society is gripped by a crisis of representation. Signs of distress and impatience are multiplying amid fears that the French and German elections will produce further shocks.
Politicians, quite obviously, are the first culprits. They are perceived as both incapable of realizing how deeply the economic transformations of recent decades have affected everyday life of the majority of people, and as utterly indifferent to the losses they have suffered. But economists, also, are regarded with increasing skepticism, given that much of the profession has been more interested in celebrating the gains from globalization than in analyzing with open mind the complex transformations it implied – and their consequences.