Organized labor may be a secret weapon against the recent wave of populism engulfing advanced democracies, argues Elena Nikolova, a research fellow at the Central European Labor Studies Institute in Slovakia. Populist leaders around the world have redefined democratic politics, she writes for The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage:
Some observers have asked whether the result will be the demise of democratic institutions. History can help us understand some of the factors that drive political change. In a recent article, I argue that politicians opt for liberal representative institutions when labor is scarce — and move away from democracy when labor is plentiful, in times like our own….Countries in which workers have power are more likely to become and stay democratic.