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Thursday, 4 September 2014

Paradox of Populism

Populist leaders...start out attacking their opponents’ corruption and accuse them of hijacking the state for a self-serving political establishment that excludes the interests of ordinary people. Yet, when in power, they end up behaving exactly the same, treating the state as their or their party’s property and engaging in, or at least condoning, corruption. Usually, this apparent hypocrisy does not hurt populists’ electoral prospects"
From Jan-Werner Mueller's fascinating piece on the paradox of populism. It has a lot of resonance with much of the African experience.  The authors suggest that the reason why this paradox exist is because populism erodes the distinction between government and the people.

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