What is Populism?

Shaken by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and staggering after the global pandemic, the global political order is entering a new era of volatile uncertainty that may roll back the gains of the last century.
Published 13 February 2023

Open democracies, where opponents respect one another even as they contest for power, are under threat from a rising tide of populism. In this stark new world, political opponents are enemies to be destroyed by fake news and independent institutions are being turned in the tools of perpetuating power.

At its most virulent, populism has destroyed democracies from the inside out, causing social instability, economic catastrophe and, in some cases, authoritarian repression. In other cases — such as South Africa — populism is a rising threat as strong constitutional guarantees of democratic accountability come under threat.

Where is populism taking us? Is there hope of a return to rational policy-making? Is the world doomed to descend into ever-greater conflict? These are the questions that our latest book 'In the Name of the People: How Populism is Rewiring the World' addresses.

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