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Opinion: The stock market could crash if Donald Trump is elected president

The precise consequences of bad policies are hard to predict, but it’s still not good.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Project Syndicate) — With the United States’ presidential election on Nov. 8, and a series of elections and other political decisions fast approaching in Europe, now is a good time to ask whether the global economy is in good enough shape to withstand another major negative shock.

The answer, unfortunately, is that growth and employment around the world look fragile. A big adverse surprise — like the election of Donald Trump in the U.S. — would likely cause the stock market DJIA, -0.53% to crash and plunge the world into recession.

There is always a great deal of insight in the International Monetary Fund’s semiannual economic outlook, which is based on detailed data from around the world. And, because the latest version was published in early October, it is particularly relevant. (I was previously the IMF’s chief economist and oversaw the forecasting process, but I left that position in August 2008.)

Table 1.1 of the Fund’s World Economic Outlook covers the main points: a baseline forecast of 3.1% global GDP growth this year and 3.4% in 2017. This represented a nudge down from the projections in April, with signs of weakening perceived in the U.S., the eurozone, and of course the United Kingdom (grappling with the consequences of impending Brexit — the big and potentially traumatic step of leaving the European Union).

The most obvious dark cloud on the global horizon is Europe. The British issues are not helping, but the deeper issues continue to be related to the eurozone itself (Britain never adopted...