Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States can only bring more uncertainty to markets building on those already existing in the world economy.
Mr Trump has made some interesting commitments through his campaign including a prediction that the US will grow at five per cent, that he will renegotiate (or even cancel) the national debt, and that he will drastically cut taxes and expenditure.
It is tempting to ask whether he will cut taxes to what he has been paying – zero – but we know any decent society cannot deliver services and make investments without tax so I personally see it as a negative that he hasn’t paid his way.
Obviously any of these will have fundamental effects on the world economy because, despite Mr Trump’s protectionist approach, the world is now an integrated economy.
An area where I do have some sympathy with him is his concern about the trade deficit and its effect on national debt. Both the USA and the UK are trading in the world at a loss and ultimately this has to catch up with us.
I have listened to many politicians of all parties in the UK talking continuously about the distribution of wealth, demanding that we spend more on health, education, welfare and infrastructure but what happens when there is no wealth left to distribute?
In my opinion we are operating as a country with our head in the sand.
Europe is no better and possibly worse. Getting new agreements in Europe is far too difficult because there are too many countries with different vested interests.
We are on a course to leave Europe albeit probably not completely.
Mr Trump has spoken about cancelling, or re-negotiating, the free trade agreement proposal between Europe and the USA. Does that mean we are in a better position to get a deal with the USA on our own? Who knows!
The USA election and the Brexit referendum were surprises to lots of people but they were people who listen to the establishment. The votes were by people who had had enough of the establishment, felt they had nothing to lose, and want something different. Are our political establishments here, in Europe and in the USA capable of delivering that change? Mr Trump’s election will not make our challenges go away. It is not an excuse for us to lose focus on tackling them.