22 January 2017

Stating the Obvious on Populist Rejection of Expert Opinions

Whether it's the Brexit, or Donald Trump, it is clear that disdain for experts figures prominently in populist politics, particularly on the right.

Dean Baker makes a point that needs to be made, that the experts have proven themselves to be unable to find their ass with both hands while insisting that they must remain the exclusive font of all policy:
Ivan Krastev, a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, had an interesting NYT column on the disenchantment of the European public with the meritocrats who have been largely running governments there for the last three decades. Krastev's main conclusion is that the public doesn't identify with an internationally-oriented group of meritocrats who possess skills that are easily transferable from their home country to other countries.

While this lack of sufficient national identity may play a role in the dislike of the meritocrats, there is a much simpler explanation: they have done a horrible job. Much of Europe continues to suffer from high unemployment, or low employment rates, almost a decade after the collapse of housing bubbles sent the continent's economy in a downward spiral. The meritocrats deserve the blame for both the weak recovery and allowing dangerous bubbles to grow in the first place. In most countries, most of the population has seen declining incomes over the last decade in spite of the substantial technological progress we have seen over this period.
It doesn't matter if it is the City of London, or Brussels, or Wall Street, or Washington, DC, or Berlin, these people nearly destroyed our world, and continue to promulgate policies that do not work, and still they remain largely in charge of our policy apparatus.

These people need to have a job that involves asking, "Do you want fries with that?"


Stephen Montsaroff said...

And experts on vaccines, and climate change.

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