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Authoritarian vs Progressive Populism

Updated: Nov 5

The US is choosing in the mid-term election between Authoritarian Populism with an Illiberal Democracy twist as compared to Progressive Populism with the hope for a more widely inclusive Representative Democracy. It appears the Authoritarian Populism frame is gaining ground.


It is not just in the US: The global, Spaceship (Earth)-wide political economic shift toward Authoritarian Populism is about Wealth Inequality & Strict Culture (Norris and Inglehart 2019, Roberts and Lamp 2021). Extreme inequality in income and wealth drives resentment toward the elite, giving rise to Populism. Rapid change in culture (especially if precipitated by immigration) drives calls for Authoritarian control over who can come into a country, working to defend traditional culture. On top of the latter, Authoritarian Populism also adds the strict father frame of Authoritarians (who also claim to be more effective by being hard on crime).


Authoritarian Populism rejects the nurturing parent frame of the contender represented by Progressive Populism. The latter is evermore being rejected all over the Spaceship by voting for Authoritarian Populists. Economists need to bring the Inequality & Culture dimensions of both Authoritarian Populism and Progressive Populism back into the analytical system using Dual Interest Theory, in the search for the best political economic system.


Also, the Populist frame is quite different. The Authoritarian Populists are rebelling against the cultural elites, especially the cosmopolitans not bound to tradition, and also against the people with higher levels of formal education who the Populists do not believe know what is best to do (science-based or not). The Progressive Populists are rebelling against the wealthy elites, especially the ones who are now into taking and keeping (not paying taxes) wealth, as though said elites are always somehow deserving, without regard for ethical reflection. The Populists somehow believe the people know best, even though the plans for what said Populists will do once in power is not always clear.


The new Dual Interest Theory (Lynne 2020) has a placeholder for the shared other-interest, which holds the political and cultural ideology being proposed, and makes it an analytical and empirical question as to which works best. In the case at hand, Dual Interest Theory facilitates putting Authoritarian Populism into the placeholder, and, then, putting the alternative represented in Progressive Populism into the placeholder, and looking for empirically based sufficient reason (facts & ethics based) for choosing one over the other. Said empirical analysis would likely result in pointing to a best balance of the two, as in authoritarian & progressive, strict & nurturing, right & left, humane market & reasoned (ethical) culture, market & community, economy & government. https://tinyurl.com/buy-Metaeconomics


Lynne, G.D. Metaeconomics: Tempering Excessive Greed. Palgrave MacMillan, 2020

Norris, P. and Inglehart, R. Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit, and Authoritarian Populism. Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Roberts, A. and Lamp, N. Six Faces of Globalization: Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why It Matters. Harvard University Press, 2021.


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