To neutralise populism, give people more control

Robin Varghese and Sarah Pray in The Economist:

Robin Varghese

People who have lost their jobs lose not only an income but also a sense of place, of purpose and of solidarity. Community dislocation, absence of social belonging, loss of identity, lack of political control and self-determination—these things are extremely hard to measure in dollars and cents or pounds and pence.

Responding to this is urgent. Unless people get a more substantial voice and sense of agency over their lives, it is hard to see how the backlash against global trade can be quelled, and that threatens the global economy and democratic institutions.

So how might confidence and agency be restored to those facing the sharp end of globalisation? Our work at the Open Society Foundations (OSF) sheds light on how giving people a “path to participation” can help tamp the anxiety that drives people to embrace protectionism and populism. We have looked specifically at three contentious areas: refugee settlement, worker participation and trade policy.

More here.

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