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Biden inauguration Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images

Biden to the Rescue?

In his January 20 inaugural address, US President Joe Biden called for unity following America’s turbulent and occasionally violent transition, acknowledging the country has “much to repair, much to restore, much to heal.” But how can Biden prevent a revival of Trumpism at home and restore the United States’ standing with its partners and allies?

In this Big Picture, Nobel laureate economist Joseph E. Stiglitz cautions that overcoming the longstanding problems that gave rise to Donald Trump’s toxic presidency – not least rampant inequality – will require more than what one president can accomplish in a single presidential term. But among the most urgent priorities, argues MIT’s Daron Acemoglu, is to acknowledge the weaknesses of America’s democratic institutions, most of which have been failing and are in desperate need of repair and reform.

But America’s economic institutions also are failing, and Laura Tyson, a former chair of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, and McKinsey & Company’s Lenny Mendonca urge the Biden administration to draw inspiration from European and – especially – Californian market capitalism in order to “build back better” after the pandemic. And Jayati Ghosh of International Development Economics Associates highlights four immediate steps Biden can take to boost the global economy.

On the diplomatic front, Kemal Derviş of the Brookings Institution calls on Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to champion liberal democracy far more consistently at home and abroad than the US has done in the past. To that end, Harvard University’s Joseph S. Nye, Jr. considers which actions – ranging from broadcasts and economic aid to military invasions – Biden might favor in trying to influence the domestic affairs of other sovereign states.

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