Civics: Inflation and Politics:

Joel Kotkin:

Yet the left’s own agenda still could dominate the future. In France’s presidential and legislative elections, former Trotskyist firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his alliance did exceptionally well among young people, particularly in the heavily immigrant working-class banlieues. His politics are, if anything, well to the left of the traditional Socialists, now essentially extinct. Even the ill-fated Jeremy Corbyn won more than 60 per cent of the under-40 vote in the 2017 UK election, while the Conservatives got just 23 per cent. In Germany, the Green Party enjoys wide support among the young, and seems likely to push the European giant further to the left. Similarly, in Britain inflation is also stirring labour to action, as evidenced by the rail strikes, which could set a new pattern in the coming months.

Even in America, socialism is gaining adherents, particularly among the young. In the 2016 primaries, the openly socialist Bernie Sanders outpolled Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump combined among under-30 voters, a performance he repeated in the early 2020 primaries. Indeed, millennials – now the nation’s largest voting bloc – say that they prefer socialism to capitalism.

The persistent labour shortages seem likely to continue – by 2030, Korn Ferry projects there will be a deficit of at least six million workers. It did briefly create higher wages for workers, but much of that has been overcome by inflation. Overall, in the US at least, the workers’ share of national output, which rose briefly during the pandemic, has fallen back to historic lows. Many are not even taking jobs on offer in the ‘gig’ economy, where pay and hours are often uncertain. The end of lockdowns did little to slow the ‘great resignation’ as more Americans left the workforce, expanding the pressure on welfare benefits for those who choose not to work.