If you’re an ardent observer of Italy’s Ferragosto, or consider yourself more an Aoûtien than a Juillettiste, you’ll hold August in some reverence, a month entirely your own, in which no one, not even your boss, can interfere.

But if you’re one of the many who worked the month, you might have felt that August this year was anything but a period of rest. Hurricanes, storms, even floods, formed the backdrop to a few weeks in which world leaders and lawmakers rigidified legislation and applied the final touches to manifesto promises that seemed to typify an emerging, worldwide protectionist slant, characterised by heightened trade barriers and broadened punitive measures.