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Decline of the West: Economists should have sounded the alert sooner

If they had done so, they might have helped to alleviate the economic disasters of the last 10 years

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Mr Obama is a key figure in the post-2008 crisis. As a rising senator in 2004, he had predicted that nativism and political breakdown would result if efforts weren't made to support the working and middle classes. But as president four years later, his administration had little stomach for the aggressive moves needed to address such a major problem.

NOW that we are witnessing what looks like the historic decline of the West, it is worth asking what role economists might have played in the disasters of the past decade.

From the end of World War II until 2007, Western political leaders at least acted as if they were interested in

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