Can Elites Contain and Manage the Crisis?

John Higley

Abstract


Clear and pressing needs for many kinds of work have declined steadily since the mid-1970s in Western countries, and the declines show no sign of stopping. In the United States today, for example, roughly 7 million prime working-age men no longer seek work and are officially outside the labor force, with increasing numbers of formerly employed women joining them. Policy-making elites in Western countries have been myopic about problems of work in advanced postindustrial conditions and how they lead to the kind of demagogic populism personified by Donald Trump, AfD leaders in Germany, Marine Le Pen in France, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, Beppe Grillo in Italy, and leaders and parties in at least two of the four Visegrad countries. The declining need for work and populist exploitations of employment insecurities and fears it produces threaten the elite basis of stable political systems in the West and give rise to an apparition of deep and protracted civil strife.

Keywords


Financial meltdown; declining needs for work; employment insecurities; myopic elites, demagogic populists; insiders and outsiders; challenges to political stability

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14267/cjssp.2017.3S.01

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ISSN: 2062-087X

DOI: 10.14267/issn.2062-087X