Mark Barnes Columnist

Pain-free populism is fine if you just need to floss, but when you need root-canal treatment it’s out with the needles, the drills. Eina!, for sure, but it’ll save the tooth. The conundrum is obvious. If you want to effect change, you must be in charge. To be in charge, you must be elected. To be elected you must be popular. To be popular you must make promises — promises to the disaffected, promises to the masses, popular promises. Formulating objective policy for sustainable growth is what’s required, but that will start with planting, not harvesting, so that’s no good. The truth is that we’ve moved way past policy, past promises even, to personalities. The world order is in the hands of very, very few personalities, wanting to have their way, rather than implement or even formulate policy that won’t produce a mid-term harvest. All the way from the hectic Trump (narcissistic, know-it-all, child — leading the crazy index by some margin) through Putin and Jong Un to the determined J...

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