As president, Joe Biden is seeking to build a worker-centric consensus © New York Times / Redux / Eyevine
Globalisation and automation have not been kind to the US middle class these past decades. Economists such as Thomas Piketty, Daron Acemoglu, Gordon Hanson and Anne Case have documented the hits that average Americans have taken in terms of inequality, wage stagnation, job destruction and deaths of despair.
Yet despite 30 years of middle-class malaise, Democratic and Republican administrations alike have pushed laissez-faire policies without creating social safety nets that would have put the “fair” into laissez-faire — as safety nets did in all the other advanced economies in the world. That’s now changing.
The Republican Donald Trump knocked down the free-trade consensus; the Democratic Joe Biden is building up a new worker-centric, place-centric alternative. A new book, Homecoming by FT columnist Rana Foroohar,…