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Can Economic Populism Preempt Political Populism?

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Harvard University Professor Dani Rodrik argues that while political populism stifles pluralism and undermines liberal democratic norms, economic populism is occasionally necessary. In some cases, it may even help forestall the arrival of its more dangerous cousin.

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In Defense of Economic Populism

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  • Populists’ aversion to institutional restraints extends to the economy, where they oppose obstacles placed in their way by autonomous regulatory agencies, independent central banks, and global trade rules. 

  • But while populism in the political domain is almost always harmful, economic populism can sometimes be justified.
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