Global politics

Expert Voices

Market volatility shows strains of widespread geopolitical tensions

crystal ball with graph arrow going up and then down
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The U.S. stock market has seesawed in the new year, following a chaotic end to 2018 — its worst annual performance since the Great Recession and worst December performance since the Great Depression. The magnitude of recent swings suggests they are driven less by economic and market conditions than by geopolitical challenges.

Why it matters: Market actors focus, sometimes myopically, on technical indicators like “moving averages” or what the Fed will do on interest rates. But the current turbulence requires factoring in critical geopolitical trends like the rise of illiberalism in Europe, Trump administration trade policies, and China’s Belt and Road initiative.

The view from Davos: A post-liberal world order

Davos, Switzerland
Davos, Switzerland. Photo: Photo: Harold Cunningham via Getty Images

DAVOS, Switzerland — At this bastion of multilateralism, a procession of world leaders has acknowledged existential threats to the global order.

Between the lines: Adam Tooze, a professor of history at Columbia University, told Axios: "We may have to get used to a more modest definition of liberal world order." That likely means removing liberal politics from the equation and being less exclusive about who's invited to the club.

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