Political economics worth watching under Trump.

Author:Binnings, Tom
Position:THE ECONOMIST
 
FREE EXCERPT

My best guess is 40 percent of my family and friends are fearful and depressed over the election. Another 40 percent are happy about the new "Republican" control, but are concerned. And the remaining 20 percent are elated, but know better than to share their enthusiasm for the 45th president with me. I guess that puts me squarely in the middle. From an economic perspective, we got what I've been hoping for--a businessman, a largely self-funded and low dollar campaign, and a non-lawyer/politician. America appears to have elected a person suitable to Machiavelli's revolution against the status quo since, as Machiavelli said, "There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." Donald Trump is absolutely proposing a new order relative to the last half-century in this country.

Everyone advocates for change, but this election cycle the need was especially acute, as our government has been stuck in a legislative versus executive branch quagmire during the most dramatic national socio-economic shifts in modern times. Between our aging population, stagnant middle class incomes, the coloring of America, health-care costs spiraling out of control, and economic globalization and automation (to name a few line items), it's no surprise that emotions are peaking as stressors mount. In retrospect. Trump's election should not be a surprise. It's just that "the other side" has gained power after eight years of an equally remarkable American feat--the election of our first African American president whose power base was also grass roots in nature.

In trying to gain economic perspective during the coming administration, I think some lesser known, but rapidly emerging specialties in economics will gain greater popularity. First is game theory. President-elect Trump has dominant strategies and uses them extensively. For instance, he exercises the power of the law--not for justice, but to gain advantage. Most business professionals learn early not to let our principles get in the way when it comes to legal battles. In other words, don't engage legally just because you're right. Trump is the opposite. He uses his money to impose pain on any who challenge him--even if he is wrong. My greatest fear is whether such a dominant strategy will shift to U.S. military might. He also uses unpredictability (which should become more predictable over...

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