The surprise results in the US election and the Brexit referendum have been attributed to populist uprisings. But exactly what do populist policies and leaders mean for business owners?
According to economist Christopher Joye, populist uprisings taking place in America, Europe and, to a lesser extent so far, Australia – as evidenced by the swathe of new independent and smaller party senators elected to parliament in this year’s election – represent a push for more individual control.
That, he says, is a good thing for business owners struggling under the burden of regulation and red tape.
“We saw this in the UK with Brexit … Brexit was really about rejecting the imposition of European Union laws and regulations on the UK. And those laws and regulations were unilaterally imposed on UK businesses and UK voters,” he says.
He says that aside from the “xenophobic immigration debate” that took place in the UK and the US, as well as here in Australia, in relation to border control, the rise of populist politics across the Western world could benefit business owners through the adoption of less restrictive legislative frameworks.
“Since 2008, for almost 10 years now, we've just had massive re-regulation of Western economies, including here in Australia. Huge increases in regulation. So I think this is outcast, all the atmospherics are going to change quite noticeably,” Christopher explains.
“I think generally we're coming to the end of an aggressive re-regulation cycle, where for the next five or so years, you'll see more national right-winged governments elected around the world.”
This, he suggests, will include a shift towards more supportive and even protectionist policies to support local businesses - mirroring the stance of Donald Trump during the US election.