The explosion of populist politics in many of the world’s democracies since 2016 was a culmination of developments that had been in train for decades. Ian Shapiro describes those developments and shows how they were aggravated by government responses the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath. He then spells out lessons for the current pandemic and its predictable consequences for vulnerable populations. He argues that failing to heed those lessons will likely fuel the underlying causes of populism, which might well take more virulent forms than we have seen to date.
Ian Shapiro is Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He has written widely and influentially on democracy, justice, and the methods of social inquiry. A native of South Africa, he received his J.D. from the Yale Law School and his Ph.D. from the Yale Political Science Department where he has taught since 1984 and served as chair from 1999 to 2004. Shapiro also served as Henry R. Luce Director of the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies from 2004-2019. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Shapiro is a past fellow of the Carnegie Corporation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has held visiting appointments at the University of Cape Town, Keio University in Tokyo, and Nuffield College, Oxford. His most recent books are Politics Against Domination (Harvard University Press, 2016), Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy from Itself (Yale University Press, 2018) with Frances Rosenbluth, and The Wolf at the Door: The Menace of Economic Insecurity and how to Fight It (Harvard University Press, 2020) with Michael Graetz. His current research concerns the relations between democracy and the distribution of income and wealth.