Showing posts from August, 2016

Economic anxiety and racism

Among the millions of words being spilled about Donald Trump, a lot recently have been spent on the question of whether his rise is spurred by economic deprivation, or just by a kind of status-seeking white identity politics. The catchphrase is 'economic anxiety': the disaffection and alienation felt by working class people who've been hurt by globalisation and deregulation.

Matt Yglesias is probably the most insistent proponent of the view that Trump's support has very little to do with economic problems faced by his supporters, and much more to do with their intense discomfort with growing racial and cultural diversity in the US. Mostly he's expressed this view by retweeting the racist rants of Trump supporters and sarcastically labelling them displays of economic anxiety. This week he's presented the case more fully, and a few people have responded. In good blogging style, I think they're all wrong. But the argument is important to understanding a much w…