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Paradigm shifts happen slowly, and then all at once. This was the case during the last economic shift, in the Reagan-Thatcher era. Ronald Reagan wasn’t elected US president until 1980, but many of the speeches he gave during his 1976 Republican primary run set the stage for a new post-Keynesian era. In this, he argued, the power of private enterprise and animal spirits would be unleashed.

So it is with the Biden administration now. One can identify several markers of their heralding of a new age — from Joe Biden’s address to Congress announcing the end of trickle-down economics, through to National Security Council director Jake Sullivan’s April speech on building back better abroad, to last week’s talk by US trade representative Katherine Tai in Washington, during which she declared that she wanted to “put the US back in USTR”. All of this represents a sea change in America’s political economy.

If the White House has its way, this will be driven much more by domestic economic concerns in the future, particularly those of workers….

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