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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

Ben Geman, author of Generate
44 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Carbon emissions are roaring back from COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: IEA Global Energy Review 2021; Chart: Axios Visuals

Global energy-related carbon emissions will surge this year as coal, oil and natural gas consumption return from the pandemic that caused an unprecedented emissions decline, the International Energy Agency estimated Tuesday.

Why it matters: The projected rise of nearly 5% would be the largest since the "carbon intensive" recovery from the financial crisis over a decade ago, IEA said, putting emissions just below their 2019 peak.

1 hour ago - Axios Twin Cities

Jurors resume deliberations as the nation awaits Chauvin verdict

Protesters outside Hennepin County Government Center on the day of closing arguments. Photo: Christopher Mark Juhn/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial resume deliberations Tuesday morning as the nation waits for a verdict.

The latest: The 12 jurors met behind closed doors for about three hours Monday before breaking for the night at 8pm.

John Frank, author of Denver
1 hour ago - Axios Denver

What national marijuana legalization would mean for Colorado

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Colorado's cannabis industry is enjoying an era of prosperity as national attitudes toward marijuana become more relaxed.

Driving the news: 17 states have legalized recreational marijuana sales and pot enjoys its highest popularity ever with 68% of adults backing legalization, according to a recent Gallup poll.