The spread of populism is rooted partly in economic inequality and in a rejection of progressive ideals, caused by generation and education gaps, according to Pippa Norris, a comparative political scientist and professor at Harvard University and the University of Sydney.
“What populists can do, is they can appeal to this dissatisfaction with the amount of change, and say, ‘We can take you back,'” Norris told a forum this week.
The upcoming French presidential election offers a primer on the turbulent politics of our times, notes analyst Carlo Invernizzi Accetti. We are witnessing the collapse of the traditional divide between left and right, as well as the parties associated with it. In its place, a new opposition is emerging between nationalist populism on one hand and liberal technocracy on the other. At stake is the very model of society—and democracy—that has been dominant in the West since the end of the Cold War, he writes for Foreign Affairs:
At stake in this confrontation is the social and economic model that has been dominant in the West since the end of the Cold War, based precisely on the gamble that the benefits of openness could compensate for the loss of established mechanisms of social and economic protection. As political scientist Hanspeter Kriesi has recently shown, however, this gamble—the gamble of globalization—produces both “winners” and “losers.” There is therefore a concrete conflict of interests underlying the contemporary struggle between nationalist populism on one hand and liberal technocracy on the other.
“In order to prevent this from degenerating into a zero-sum game that would strain the democratic fabric of Western societies,” Accetti contends, “it is urgent to find new ways of bridging the social fissure that globalization has produced, either by making openness more inclusive, or protection less exclusive.” RTWT