All posts filed under: Populism

How “Vanguardism” generated Populism

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Democracy / Feminism / Party System / Populism

By definition radicals and progressives take positions rejected by the rest of the population with the aim of shifting the mainstream towards their viewpoint. Events sometimes play out as “progressives” hope. For example, five decades ago the first gay rights demonstrators put forth a viewpoint that was deeply repugnant to the rest of society. Their outlook is now mainstream. A vanguard took the lead on a social issue against majority opinion. Almost all of us now agree that they were right and the rest of us wrong. But events […]

Who predicted the rise of the populists? Part 5 – Bernard Connolly

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Bernard Connolly / Democracy / Economics / Globalisation / Party System / Politics / Populism

Looking at who predicted the victory of the populists before 2016 helps us sift through the deluge of ex post facto rationalisations. Bernard Connolly wrote The Rotten Heart of Europe in 1995. Connolly previously worked at the European Commission. He rose to head of the unit responsible for the European Monetary System and monetary policies. The book delivered a harsh attack on the European project for monetary union, and warned of disaster ahead. Connolly saw the monetary policy […]

Who predicted the rise of the populists? Part 4 – Peter Mair

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Democracy / Globalisation / Party System / Peter Mair / Politics / Populism

Looking at who predicted the victory of the populists before 2016 helps us sift through the deluge of ex post facto rationalisations. Fourth in this series is the Irish political scientist Peter Mair. Like Richard Rorty, Peter Mair’s politics were the Left but his critique now appears to anticipate views now more common on the Right. Mair believed European democracy to be in crisis. The rituals of democracy remained, but its substance had been lost. Popular democracy depends upon bottom-up decision-making – the […]

Who predicted the rise of the populists? Part 3 – Dani Rodrik

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Dani Rodrik / Democracy / Economics / Edward Luttwak / Globalisation / Party System / Politics / Populism

Looking at who predicted the victory of the populists before 2016 helps us sift through the deluge of ex post facto rationalisations. Third in this series is the economist Dani Rodrik. Unlike the other thinkers in this series Rodrik has not made a habit of prediction. While some of the predictions he has made have failed spectacularly. He appears not to have grasped deep political significance of his ideas until late in the day. Nonetheless, along the way Rodrik outlined a set […]

Who predicted the rise of the populists? Part 2 – Richard Rorty

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Democracy / Economics / Globalisation / Party System / Philosophy / Politics / Populism / Richard Rorty

Looking at who predicted the victory of the populists before 2016 helps us sift through the deluge of ex post facto rationalisations.Second in this series is the philosopher Richard Rorty. His 1998 book “Achieving our country” contains a wealth of predictions about the future of American politics. Many  now appear uncannily accurate. Rorty was a self-declared member of the “Old Left”. Its principle concern was economic equality. He contrasted it with the new “Cultural Left” that he believed would progressively undermine US politics. Eventually it […]

Who predicted the rise of the populists? Part 1 – Edward Luttwak

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Democracy / Economics / Edward Luttwak / fascism / Globalisation / Party System / Philosophy / Politics / Populism

Looking at who predicted the victory of the populists in 2016 helps us sift through the deluge of ex post facto rationalisations. First in the series is Edward N Luttwak. His 1994 book “The Endangered American Dream” made a series of bold claims about the results of globalisation. He believed it would undermine the traditional parties of both right and left. In his view neither could address the concerns of the losers from globalisation. Their failure would eventually open a […]

In the future everyone will be a conservative: the economy’s evolving complexity undermines both the left and the right

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Complexity Economics / Conservatism / Cultural Stasis / Edmund Burke / Eric Beinhocker / Evolutionary Economics / Network theory / Party System / Philosophy / Populism

During the launch of Space Shuttle Columbia’s 28th mission a piece of foam insulation the size of a small briefcase broke off from an external tank and struck its left wing. Many shuttle launches had seen similar damage but this time it proved more serious. On 1st February 2003 the space shuttle exploded as it entered the earth’s atmosphere killing its crew of seven astronauts. A later investigation concluded “the physical cause of the loss of Colombia […]

The Populism Paradox: why the success of mainstream parties creates the conditions for their own destruction

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Democracy / Globalisation / Network theory / Party System / Peter Mair / Politics / Populism

A cross Europe the mainstream parties that have dominated the continent for decades are fading. Their memberships are falling. Voter turnout is down. Those supporters they have retained are starved of enthusiasm. Meanwhile anti-system parties gain ever more vitality. The SNP in Scotland, UKIP in the UK, the FN in France go from strength to strength. Their simple messages calling for the repatriations of powers, together with their populist attacks on a ‘detached metropolitan elite’ are […]