The economics of pandemics and the future course of populism

By İbrahim Öztürk The University of Duisburg-Essen & European Center for Populism Studies | June 5, 2023

The relevant literature shows that populists come to power through various rhetorics by exploiting the incumbent orders and the problems they have caused. However, failures and disappointments in fulfilling their promises push them to employ increasingly authoritarian measures to silence society to stay in power by gradually changing the system, manipulating citizens through controlling media, and undermining fundamental institutions. By emphasizing the overall performance of populist governments during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, this article explores the future course of populist politics and governments after the pandemic. The paper concludes that although the pandemic has clearly shown the limits and capacity of many populist governments, the political and economic conjuncture in the post-pandemic era, coupled with the high tension of power transition, might bring new “opportunities” for the use of populists. With several defects and structural weaknesses of the existing liberal multilateral order, populism is here to stay with different implications for the multilateral liberal order and globalization.

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