‘Money’, Machiavelli once said, ‘is the sinews of power’. Throughout history, sound money has proved to be critical to the stability of political systems. From Weimar Germany to Latin America post-import substitution, tremors in the domestic economy have shaken the foundations of politics. A decade on from the global financial crisis that rocked most of the developed world in 2007–2008, politics has scarcely seemed more brittle. Anger at austerity and global capitalism has provided a platform for rebellious voices from the sidelines of public life to be catapulted into the mainstream.
But while political incumbents struggle to adapt to new forms of political representation that appeal to the losers of globalisation in the wake of the last crisis, there might already be another on the horizon. Predictors of recession are notoriously difficult to pin down accurately, but some of the telltale signs of economic strain are beginning to appear.