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The Anatomy of Populist Economics by Brigitte Granville – Project Syndicate

A bit of a long read, but well worth it. Professor Brigitte Granville’s article is outstanding.

PARIS – For at least the past year, populism has been wreaking havoc on Western democracies. Populist forces – parties, leaders, and ideas – underpinned the “Leave” campaign’s victory in the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States. Now, populism lurks ominously in the background of the Netherlands’ general election in March and the French presidential election in April and May.

But, despite populism’s seeming ubiquity, it is a hard concept to pin down. Populists are often intolerant of outsiders and those who are different; and yet Geert Wilders, the far-right Dutch populist leader, is a firm believer in gay rights. In the US, Trump’s presidential campaign was described as an anti-elite movement; and yet his administration is already practically a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs.

Full text: The Anatomy of Populist Economics by Brigitte Granville – Project Syndicate


17 comments on “The Anatomy of Populist Economics by Brigitte Granville – Project Syndicate

  1. Scottie
    February 24, 2017

    I think some people can accept a gay person that is of the same race and economic level and same back ground because they are almost the same. When push comes to shove they will not be as supportive as they would be of their “normal” friends. They won’t accept anyone who shows a difference that can easily be see and is on display , like skin color. As to tRump having his cabinet, he desperately needed the poor to vote for him so played to them while never intending to do as he promised. How the poor people thought a man who was third generation extreme wealth and insisted on living a lavish lifestyle always on display would work for them and support their needs over his wealthy friends. Hugs


  2. acflory
    February 25, 2017

    Sorry, Pinky. Couldn’t read the whole article. Already registered with so many websites I can’t bear to add any more.


  3. MELewis
    February 25, 2017

    Mail it to me too please! Looked like an interesting read but I also had to login to view more than the first page. It spoke to me as I struggle with the meaning of populism. It seems by her definition that in French politics populism is also seen on the extreme left in Mélenchon’s ‘La France Insoumise’ party. So it is a movement of extremes that spans the political spectrum. Scary stuff!


    • Just sent it. From an economic perspective she calls populism measures that are popular because they (seem to) achieve immediate results. The obvious problem being what happens in the long run. Hugo Chavez and Venezuela are a perfect example. He put hugely popular measures in place, from expropriating land to nationalizing various companies- and for a while it seemed to work. The illusion was in part due to oil prices and now Venezuela is at the edge of collapse.


  4. acflory
    February 25, 2017

    Thanks, Pinky. It is a very interesting article as it provides quite a different perspective on populism, but boy, is it a complex issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What she does well is make the distinction between what looks good on the surface versus what the evidence shows those policies actually lead to. Trump’s border tax is a perfect example. His supporters hear it and imagine money coming in. What they don’t consider is they’d be paying the bill indirectly because of the (inevitable) price rises.


      • acflory
        February 25, 2017

        Yeah, there’s always two sides to everything and the bright, shiny one isn’t always the best. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  5. foolsmusings
    February 25, 2017

    I think much of the current move to the extreme right is to a large degree the fault of left leaning parties. In order to hold power by appealing to a broader electorate they have been moving more and more to the centre. By doing this they are shifting the entire landscape to the right. There probably needs to be a stronger move by the left, to the left in order for society to rebalance. Just. A thought.

    Liked by 3 people

    • From the 70’s onwards we see an onslaught of propaganda reaching the mainstream. In the UK Thatcher hires the Saatchi agency… And they do their job exceptionally well.


  6. Helen Devries
    February 25, 2017

    A pity the article ignores the fore runner – Poujadism.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Steve Ruis
    March 23, 2017

    Why do we even have a term for “populism” in democracies? Shouldn’t all governments, as representatives of the people, be trying to … “represent the interests of ordinary people.” This shows you how out of kilter we are, to be examining these “odd attempts” to represent the interests of ordinary people instead of, instead of….

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory
      March 23, 2017

      I’ve been struggling with your question too, Steve. Why do we all accept that populism is a dirty word when it basically boils down to the ‘will of the people’? In a democracy, isn’t that exactly what the political system should be about?

      The populous may not be as well educated or ‘bright’ as the upper echelons of power, and they may be susceptible to both propaganda and manipulation, but that doesn’t make the populous ‘bad’. It merely points the finger of blame at those who unashamedly pervert populism for their own ends.

      Is populism easier to pervert than say, voter apathy? Probably, but I still can’t help thinking we’re whacking the horse instead of the very creaky cart. This is a cyclical problem with /representational/ democracy.

      Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on February 24, 2017 by in activism and tagged , , , .
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