Research / BFI Working PaperSep 14, 2020

The Historical Perspective on the Trump Puzzle: A Review of Barry Eichengreen’s “The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era”

In “The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era”, Barry Eichengreen relies on historical and contemporary evidence to analyze major episodes of populism in the 21st century, the Trump election in the U.S. and Brexit in Europe. Populism, an anti-elite, authoritarian, and nativist movement, rises in times of economic and political discontent because elites, the winners of the preceding period, are unwilling or unable to share their winnings with the losers. The review asks for a model, which would allow to differentiate a destructive populism wave and a constructive adjustment of political system to changing circumstances.

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