Now Playing at a Theater of the Absurd Near You
Compared with the narrow range of macroeconomic outcomes in advanced economies, the scope of political possibilities over the past few years has been Cinemascopic. Movies provide the right metaphors. My deeply held suspicion is that sixty years ago, a teenage Donald Trump stowed away in the back seat of Doc Brown’s DeLorean from Back to the Future fame. The refugee from another era nabbed the 2030 version of The Almanac of Politics. Scanning the pages back home, the young man with a mission learned that a splintered Republican party could not settle soon enough on a plausible candidate in 2016 to defeat the disliked Democratic standard-bearer. Young Donald realized he could do better. The Almanac also listed New York City mayors and borough chiefs for the next half-century, providing a decided edge for the budding builder in the endemic political dealing of that city’s real estate industry. The rest is history.
The more recent suspicion is that Doc Brown’s back seat is more capacious than it looks from the outside and the car travels both directions along the arrow of time. In particular, many trips have been made back and forth to the late 1960s with the heads of major economies in tow. How else can we explain job selections in the European Union (EU) and the US and the drift everywhere else?