Schickt die Clowns rein

NEW YORK – Als allzu viele Italiener Ende letzten Monats entweder einen zwielichtigen, in Misskredit geratenen Wirtschaftsmagnaten oder einem Komiker wählten, brachen an den europäischen Aktienmärkten die Kurse ein. Ohne das Vertrauen der Öffentlichkeit in die politische Klasse könnte Italien unregierbar werden.

Damit sind die Italiener nicht allein. Wut auf das politische Establishment ist zum weltweiten Phänomen geworden. Chinesische Blogger, amerikanische Tea-Party-Aktivisten, britische Europagegner, ägyptische Islamisten, niederländische Populisten, griechische Ultrarechte und thailändische „Rothemden“ haben alle eines gemeinsam: Hass auf den Status quo und Verachtung für die Eliten ihrer Länder. Wir leben in einem Zeitalter des Populismus. Die Autorität konventioneller Politiker und traditioneller Medien schwindet rasch.

Populismus kann ein notwendiges Korrektiv sein, wenn politische Parteien verkrusten, Massenmedien allzu willfährig werden (oder ihre Nähe zur Macht zu groß) und Bürokratien für die Bedürfnisse der Bevölkerung unempfänglich sind. In einer globalisierten Welt, die von Bankern und Technokraten regiert wird, empfinden viele Menschen, dass sie kein Mitspracherecht in öffentlichen Angelegenheiten haben; sie fühlen sich allein gelassen.

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