Populist groups made big gains in the elections; parties that promise more gradual and realistic solutions lost out. That should set off alarm bells about economic policy.

Voters aren’t naive or careless. Rather, they responded to the failure to deliver on the economic pact that implicitly underpinned the transition to democracy. That pact had two key elements. First, the government would not disrupt ownership and control of the economy. Instead, it would expand services to historically deprived communities, enforce labour rights and end overtly racist practices. Second, on that basis, the economy would grow more rapidly, scaling up employment opportunities and boosting incomes. Established businesses and the rich would pay taxes to improve services in working-class communities, but only at rates aligned with global norms...

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