Rebecca Zisser / Axios

For four decades, the U.S. and the West at large have seen a stark and almost-uniform trend: the number of jobs has grown and the unemployment rate dropped, but average incomes have not. The bulk of the economic fruits in the U.S. and much of Europe has steered to the top, while relatively low-paying jobs -- now almost a quarter of Germany's working-age population, versus 15% in the mid-1990s -- have swelled.

Over the last year, this economic dynamic has spilled over into political instability on both continents. Manufacturing belts with outsized financial anxieties unexpectedly went to Donald Trump's column last year, and he was elected president; a similar phenomenon played out in the U.K. They and other countries have sought to buck the "establishment." And there is no sign that the economy in the U.S. and elsewhere is going to suddenly lift many more boats — fuel for more political chaos.

We asked five experts the following question: How do we avoid the political instability of stagnant income?

Go deeper

SurveyMonkey poll: Trump improves, but not enough

Trump and Biden during the final debate. Photo: Xinhua/Liu Jie via Getty Images

President Trump's final debate performance exceeded Americans' expectations, but it wasn't enough to shift the dynamics that left him trailing Joe Biden across most measures, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

What they're saying: "Liar" was the word used most by debate watchers to describe Trump's performance, followed by "lies," "strong," "presidential" and "childish." "Presidential" was the word used most to describe Biden's performance, followed by "liar," "weak," "expected" and "honest."

Hunter Biden saga dominates online debate

Data: NewsWhip; Table: Axios Visuals

The mainstream media turned away. But online, President Trump's charges about Hunter Biden were by far the dominant storyline about the final presidential debate, according to exclusive NewsWhip data provided to Axios.

  • Coverage of business dealings by Joe Biden's son — and pre-debate allegations by one of his former business associates, Tony Bobulinski — garnered more than twice as much online activity (likes, comments, shares) as the runner-up.

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