What's Driving the Yellow Vest Movement?

The global populist movement is accelerating… and in Europe it’s taking the form of an explosion of yellow vests!

In Zero Hour, I discuss the broad backlash against globalization, with the wage competition and immigration flows it has brought with it in spades since the end of World War II.

The middle class is losing its cherished lifestyle.

It’s worth noting that this isn’t something that will last for a couple of years.

It took decades the last time such a movement took shape (1913 – 1945) to resolve, at great expense to global trade and migration.

Immigration into the U.S. went from the highest ever as a percentage of the population down to near zero in the early 1930s.

Global exports as a percentage of GDP crashed from 15% to 5%. They’re now starting to fall from 30%, down to 15%… maybe even 10% (only time will tell…)!

This trade war with China is a fight for global leadership. China will lose shorter term battles like this one, but it will seek to win the war.

When it comes down to it, ultimately, this is a racial crisis…

Global trade, travel, and the internrnet have brought us so close together that we now know exactly who we hate, or who is threatening our lifestyles, and it’s making more countries retreat to nationalist policies. America First or Italy First.

A Changing World 

Andy Pancholi and I see the world reorganizing into political entities with more common cultures and values so that we can work our way back into an even stronger globalization trend. But that’ll only be decades from now.

That means America could find some way to split into two or three entities that are largely blue or red, not both!

The West coast and Northeast are clearly more blue.

Most of the Southeast and central are more red.

Italy may follow the U.K. and leave the euro… It could even split into north and south entities, as they are very different economically and culturally.

We see all of this slowly taking shape when we watch the news…


Trump’s presidential election…

And now the major yellow vest protests in France against rising fuel taxes to curb pollution!

What about our dwindling middle-class lifestyles?

The populist revolution has reared its ugly head there too. This occurs as France weighs in as the most taxed developed country in the world, with governrnment taxes at 46.2% of GDP. It’s only 27.2% in the U.S. and 34.2% OECD on average.

And similar yellow vest protests dot the Netherlands, where taxes are a very high 38%. The slogan of the recent 400 Dutch protestors? “The social winter is coming.” Sounds like a social/political revolution brewing to me.

Yellow vest protests have also started up in Belgium, where taxes are at 44.6%.

Two protesting Belgian sisters claimed: “Our children are hardworking people, but they have to pay taxes everywhere. You can’t get housing anymore… The social welfare net we grew up with is gone.”

The Belgium Prime Minister is resigning because he couldn’t form a governrnment with a large enough majority in this very split country.

But even stronger than in even the U.S., everywhere in Europe there is resistance to immigration, especially after the giant refugee wave from Syria and the Middle East in 2015.

Chancellor Merkel in Germany lost enough support that she’s bowing out. Italy has a new far right Five Star/League alliance that has taken over the governrnment and is anti-immigration and anti-EU.

Then there’s Denmark. It’s making it very clear that it has unwanted immigrants. They’re isolating refugees and criminal violators that can’t be returnrned to their home country on a small, desolate island with infrequent ferries… like a big jail!

Says the Immigration Minister: “They are unwanted in Denmark, and they will feel that.”

Check out this table…

A Gallup Poll shows 750 million people globally state they would migrate out of their country if they could. This chart shows the percentage by major regions.

But immigration is getting tougher almost everywhere, so these desires are going to be increasingly blocked.

It’s no surprise that Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, non-EU Europe, and the Middle East/North Africa lead in people’s desire to leave, and these readings have risen since 2012.

It IS a surprise that the number would be at 21% for the EU and even 14% in North America. That number has risen since 2016-17 for us.

But notice the nations where the percentage of people wanting to leave are low. They’re the higher growth regions, with progressing income and opportunities.

Seeing Australia, New Zealand, and East Asia in this group isn’t surprising.

What did surprise me was to see India/South Asia and Southeast Asia there as incomes are still very low. The reason: Those two areas are also the ones my demographic and urbanization trends say have the most potential in the future… for their citizens, investors, and businesses… so why leave?


Follow me on Twitter @harrydentjr

Harry Dent

Bestselling author and founder of Dent Research, an affiliate of Charles Street Research. Dent developed a radical new approach to forecasting the economy; one that revolved around demographics and innovation cycles.