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Three years ago, with the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump in the US, a surge of discontented voters seemed to be washing the west's political certainties away. On both sides of the Atlantic these uprisings have since faced serious obstacles when confronted with the reality of providing workable solutions.

But in this week's column, Gideon Rachman argues that it would be premature to describe this as populism reaching its peak. He offers three reasons: the underlying forces driving it are still there; the phenomenon is bubbling up on the left as well as the right; and it is a global phenomenon.

Populism may be in trouble, Gideon writes, but the moderates and centrists who wish to see it vanquished need some new tunes.

Robert Shrimsley explores the various Brexit plans being promoted and fought over by the UK's parliamentarians.

Courtney Weaver observes the expert way in which Nancy Pelosi has neutralised rivals, defied opponents, and stolen the title of dealmaker-in-chief from under the president's nose.

Lawrence Summers believes we must prepare now for a global recession.

Susan D'Agostino, a science writer and former academic, wants to persuade more American students to take lost-cost degree routes rather than load up with debt.

What you've been saying

As with Brexit, so with superconductivity, letter from Peter P Edwards, University of Oxford, UK

Henry Mance highlighted the certainty regarding the uncertainty of Brexit ( December 28). There is a striking analogy with the theory of high temperature superconductivity (High Tc), the loss of all electrical resistance in a material at unexpectedly high temperatures. Almost 30 years ago, Nobel laureates Philip Anderson and Robert Schrieffer lamented: “The consensus is that there is absolutely no consensus on the theory of High-Tc superconductivity.” That situation remains today, as does the consensus for Brexit.

In response to " The fading of the US multinational lobby", KKB says: 

I suspect that the vast masses of middle America whose economic well being has been impacted by the forces of globalization that were designed to benefit the corporations, and automation, will support economic nationalism. Pursuing shareholder value at the expense of people's economic stability can not be sustainable.

Simplify the admin: let China collect the subsidy, letter from Craig Sams, Hastings, E Sussex, UK

The “trade war” between the US and China is having a harsh impact on American soyabean farmers, as Keyu Jin points out ( January 3). China’s retaliatory 25 per cent duty on imports of US-grown soyabeans amounts to $2.23 per bushel. The US Department of Agriculture is helping American farmers with a $1.65 per bushel subsidy on their exports to China. Now that Chinese soy imports have resumed, would it not be simpler for everyone if the Chinese just kept a record of soyabean imports and then collected the US subsidy as a regular lump sum?

Today's opinion

America’s students should take a less indebted path
The casino-like system means universities win the loan dollars; students pay regardless

Lombard: A melancholy time for everyone in the Rudolph jumper chain
Time to put away the decorations and sadden retailers with return of unwanted gifts

The Brexit battle to be the last plan standing
With 12 weeks until Britain leaves the EU, there is still no consensus among MPs

Nancy Pelosi, America’s true dealmaker in chief, returns
As the government shutdown drags on, Washington’s most powerful woman flexes her muscles

We must prepare now for the likelihood of a recession
Excess austerity is a bigger risk than fiscal profligacy

FT Alphaville: Odds of a US recession are ticking higher

beyondbrics: The premature ageing of emerging market economies
Growth advantage over mature markets has halved and is set to disappear

Populism faces its darkest hour
But as its rightwing variant flags, the leftwing version could surge

Free Lunch: The left behind have most to lose from timid macroeconomic policy
Short-term recession-fighting matters for long-term problems

Markets Insight: Market challenge for the Fed is just beginning
Central bank is caught between strong economic fundamentals and market fragility

FT Alphaville: Will fintechs sink or swim when floats are regulated?

China’s industrial ambitions pose dilemmas for Britain
Governments have to decide whether they can trust projects run by Chinese companies

Inside Business: EU’s wilful blindness to sovereign risk adds to eurozone danger
The fiction of zero risk-weighted sovereign bonds threatens a eurozone ‘doom loop’

How the other shoe dropped on Mahabis’ slipper empire
Founder Ankur Shah should perhaps have taken his own advice and put his feet up

FTfm: Three ways the fund industry can address the trust deficit

FT View

The FT View: Prevention and cure: a good plan for the NHS
The health chief has set the course, now government must do its part

The FT View: Big Tech moves into the sights of US regulators
Technology companies face the prospect of privacy and antitrust enforcement

The Big Read

The Big Read: US-China: farmers count the cost of the trade war 
America’s soyabean exports to the world’s biggest market have all but disappeared, leaving farmers dependent on a $12bn bailout

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