Turkey's economic crisis is a glimpse into the future of Trump's America
The charismatic president wins elections, but heâs also an unabashed authoritarian.
He fires up his predominantly rural and religiously conservative base with populist and divisive rants. He trashes multilateral institutions and insults nations that displease him. He puts his relatives in positions of power. He propagates idiotic economic theories. He complains about interest rate hikes by the independent central bank.
Donald Trump? No, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey.
Erdogan proclaims that phrases such as âdemocracy, freed om and rule of lawâ have âabsolutely no value any longerâ. Trump describes the media as the âenemy of the peopleâ and attacks judicial decisions with which he disagrees. Erdogan has appointed his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, as finance minister. Trumpâs 37-year-old son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is his âsenior advisorâ.
Erdogan believes, despite all the evidence in the world, that low interest rates curb inflation, rather than stoking it. Donald Trump thinks, contrary to the view of every credible economist, that the US trade deficit can be eliminated by tariff hikes and trade wars, and that a current account surplus represents some kind of a national economic victory.
Erdogan says the United Nations has âcollapsedâ and describes the Dutch as âNazi remnantsâ.
Trump labels the World Trade Organisation a âdisasterâ and talks of âshithole countriesâ in Africa.
Erdogan describes high interest rates as âthe mother and father of all evilâ and pledges to âtake responsibilityâ for such issues.
Trump says heâs ânot happyâ about the Federal Reserve putting up the cost of borrowing.
The big difference between the two men? That, for Erdogan, the economic reckoning for all this populist destruction has arrived.
The Turkish lira is in free fall. After Erdoganâs in terference with its independence, few trust the central bank to be allowed to do what is necessary to restore calm to foreign exchange markets. The son-in-law finance minister lacks any credibility.
This is what happens when you undermine independent institutions, trample over norms of good governance, ignore expert advice and give free rein to nepotism.