Q: Some experts have pointed out that global sentiment today is similar to what it was in the pre-World WarI or pre-WWII periods.
A: We need to avoid drawing comparisons with the 1930s because I don't think they are appropriate. Our economic situation is nothing so bad as in the 1930s, and the kind of movements that we see in Europe and the U.S. are not fascistic. There is a very important distinction to be drawn between populism and fascism. Populism is not militaristic. There are no Brexit supporters or Trump supporters in military uniform marching through the streets of Washington or London.
So we need to go further back in history to find a good analogy. It's much more helpful to look at the period after 1873, when a financial crisis led to a prolonged period of economic stagnation and deflation, which then triggered a populist backlash against free trade, large-scale immigration, powerful financial institutions and corrupt political elites. All of that happened in the 1870s and the 1880s in the U.S. and in Europe, and the resemblances are very close between that period and our own.
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