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These are not the best of times on either side of the English Channel. Paris is burning as les citoyens – who have protest in their blood – take to the streets in outrage over higher taxes on the hoi polloi but not on the hoigty-toigty types. French President Emmanuel Macron took to the airwaves to promise tax relief for workers and pensioners and an increase in the minimum wage. While he acknowledged his own role in the situation – protestors have accused him of being out of touch – Macron said France’s problems predate him by decades and stem from the changes wrought by globalization.
The day after President Donald J. Trump was elected, I, along with scores of others, hopped on a conference call with leaders of my brokerage firm to assess whither we were going in this brave new world. There were the usual attempts to reassure — the exhortations to stay the course, the discussion of the glories of diversification, the view that things might not be so bad after all. And though shocked global markets dropped, a lot, in the immediate aftermath, the worst never happened. At least, not immediately.