since 1989 or 1991, we had been living in a growing liberal international order.
The number of democracies in this period went from about 35 in 1970, and peaked at something like a 115 to a 120, depending on how you measure a democracy. By the early 2000s, the global output of the world economy quadrupled.
the rise of a couple of very self-confident and newly assertive authoritarian powers: Russia and China. But from my standpoint, the most disturbing thing was this emergence of populism within established democracies and in fact, within the two most established democracies: Britain and the US.
The first definition is an economic one: a populist is a leader, who promotes economic policies or social policies that are popular on the short run but disastrous on the long run.
The second definition is more of a political style than anything else: a populist leader tries to be charismatic and says: I have a direct connection with you, the people. And that is actually quite important because it makes a populist, I think, ipso facto anti-institutional. A democracy is not just popular elections, it is also the protection of minority rights, it is also having a moderate government that really reflects the true will of the people. And populists tend to authoritarian politics because they do not like institutions getting in the way
The third definition is that a populist, when they say “I support the people”, often times do not mean the whole people. They mean a certain kind of person, usually defined by race or ethnicity. Often times in terms of traditional cultural values or as a traditional sense of national identity. And that does not correspond to the actual population that might live in that country.
Now we have a populist coalition in Italy, and Latin America elected its first Northern European style populist in Jair Bolsonaro. Most Latin American populists are like Southern European populists: they are left wing, they are not ethnically exclusive, they are more economic populists. But Latin America has decided to join the crowd, and so they elected a leader that is, you know, racially prejudiced, that has a fundamentalist Christian understanding of what Brasil should be about.
if you are a lower-skilled, less educated worker in a rich country, you are liable to lose out to a similarly skilled worker in a poor country.
Right from the beginning, the rap against democracy is that it produces weak government. Democracies cannot make decisions. there is a big desire on the part of a lot of ordinary people to have a strong man, a leader who can just cut through all this blather, make decisions and get things done.
The third reason is cultural, and that is the one that has to do with identity.
the word identity and Identity Politics was really not used commonly until the 1950s. A psychologist, Erik Erikson
the inner self is the one that is valuable, and the whole outside society has to change, and that is what is happening right now. Men are going through a cultural retraining, they are learning that actually their rules are not the right ones, and we need a different set of rules in relations between men and women that respect the dignity of the whole person in those kinds of relationships.
European Muslims, did not feel comfortable with their parents’ form of religiosity, they thought that it was too old fashioned and traditional, but they also did not feel well-integrated into the society, in which they were living.
“Strangers in Their Own Land” by sociologist Arlie Hochschild
Besides writing prize-winning fiction, the Nobel Laureate has fought tirelessly for civil liberties. With his new book, ‘The Call of the Tribe,’ he promotes liberal thought and pays tribute to seven authors who embrace it. We talk to him about liberalism, intellectual blindness and the dangers facing democracy today
liberalism defends some basic ideas: freedom, individualism, the rejection of collectivism and nationalism – in other words, all the ideologies or doctrines that limit or annihilate freedom within society.
Nationalism is present, but my impression is that, as with Catalonia, it’s a minority and the strength of democratic institutions is going to gradually undermine it until it’s derailed.
I wanted to be a communist. I thought communism represented the antithesis of a military dictatorship, corruption and, above all, inequality.
But the communism in Latin America was pure Stalinism, with parties subject to the Comintern in Moscow.
Fidel invited myself and a dozen other intellectuals to speak to him. We spent the whole night, 12 hours, from eight in the afternoon to eight the next morning, basically listening to him speak. It was impressive, but not very convincing.
One of the issues dividing the two main parliamentary blocs is whether there should be a cap on profit margins for publicly funded private schools.
The Swedish school system has received considerable internationalattention in recent years due to alarming test scores in the OECD’s international PISA study
Segregation is one of the most serious social problems facing Sweden and many other wealthy nations.
A recent report (the English title would be “A Nation Divided – School Choice and Segregation in Sweden”) that I have co-authored for the Stockholm based think tank Arena Idé shows that well-educated and Swedish-born families increasingly opt out of schools where the children have parents with lower educational attainments and an immigrant background. We also show that this “white flight” in Swedish municipalities throughout the country is increased by school choice and other reforms introduced in the early 1990s, whereby publicly financed private schools are allowed to compete with municipal schools for school vouchers allotted to each individual student.
The results in our study should be viewed in light of two recent reports: one from the OECDand another from UNICEF, both highlighting the inequality in the Swedish school system.
The results make it painfully clear that the Swedish school system effectively works against the very idea that schools should level the playing field for students from all backgrounds and give every child equal opportunity. Even after the rise of right-wing populism in Sweden, our established political parties have proven themselves unable, or unwilling, to rein in the highly unregulated Swedish school market.
Dean Starkman is a fellow at Center for Media, Data and Society and a visiting lecturer at the School of Public Policy at Central European University, Budapest. He and Ben Novak discuss the challenges facing public interest journalism, the transformation of journalism as whole, and where things are going from here.