Since US President Donald Trump swept to power in 2016, we have seen plenty of startling statistics about western politics. For me, the single most thought-provoking chart came courtesy of Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund. In a Lunch with the FT interview last year, Ray Dalio, Bridgewater’s founder, told me that the proportion of the Western world voting for populist candidates had risen to 35%. The figure, from a report by his firm, was starkly higher than at the start of the decade (when it was 7%), after running at about 10% in previous decades. Indeed, such a surge was only previously seen in the 1920s after the Great Depression, when the populist vote jumped from 4% to a peak of 40% in 1939, before elections halted as the world tumbled into the Second World War. This is unnerving on several levels. Today, the world looks very different from the 1930s: the internet, capital markets and international supply chains have tied the global system closely together, and socia...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now