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Nine years ago, beginning in Tunisia, a series of street protests across the Middle East turned the region upside down and became known as the Arab Spring. At times in these past few weeks, it has seemed as if something similar was unfolding across the world. From Chile to Lebanon, Iraq to India, we are seeing strikes, marches and riots. Is there a common element to this autumn of protest?
At first glance, the politics of each of these movements seems quite distinct. But they are all occurring against a worrisome backdrop: a collapse of economic growth. Over the past year, the International Monetary Fund has sharply cut its estimate for 2019, warning that “the global economy is in a synchronized slowdown,” growing at “its slowest pace since the global financial crisis.”