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For more than two years, mainstream U.S. and European political leaders have experienced one, long bout of if-onlys — if only they had done this or that, Brexit and President Trump might not have slipped by.

  • But, gathered at Davos last week, members of the global elite told us that, even if Brexit were overturned in a second referendum and Trump defeated in 2020, they would change almost nothing in the big picture. As they told us in this video, the political and economic order would continue to unravel, and a new, as-yet unknown age continue to gestate and take shape.
"You would have people angry about the losses, and thinking that the elections are illegitimate. You would get potentially very divided politics going forward."
— Christopher Eisgruber, president of Princeton University

By comparison with such past such epochal transformations, this one is happening at lightning speed, we were told. The reason is technology, whose advances are a core reason for this dramatic shift.

  • Digitalization is speeding up everything, making us woozy and, often, unnerved.
  • That sensation underlies much of the angst felt in communities across the advanced economies, along with the political turbulence that flows from it.
  • Think of this: The American shift from an agrarian to an industrial society a century ago was hugely jarring, but occurred over 100 years or more. "The difference today is we're doing it over 10 years, 15 years, 20 years," said Brian Gallagher, CEO of United Way Worldwide.
"The speed at which this change is happening is blowing people's minds. And the leaders — political leaders, business leaders — are having a hard time getting their heads wrapped around it.”
— Gallagher

Go deeper:

Go deeper

56 mins ago - World

Netanyahu and Israel reluctantly adjust to a post-Trump Washington

Netanyahu (R) and Biden in 2010. Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO via Getty

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his close aides are very nervous about the transition to a new U.S. administration after a four-year honeymoon with Donald Trump. One Israeli official told me it felt like going through detox.

What he's saying: Netanyahu congratulated Biden minutes after he was sworn in, saying in a statement that he looked forward to working together to "continue expanding peace between Israel and the Arab world and to confront common challenges, chief among them the threat posed by Iran."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. State of play: New coronavirus cases down, but more bad news ahead.
  2. Politics: Biden set to immediately ramp up federal pandemic response with 10 executive actions — Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. World: Biden will order U.S. to rejoin World Health OrganizationBiden to bring U.S. into global COVAX initiative for equitable vaccine access.
  4. Vaccine: Amazon offers to help Biden administration with COVID vaccine efforts.
Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.