Recent elections in the advanced western democracies have undermined the basic foundations of political systems that had previously beaten back all challenges -- from both the left and the right. The election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, only months after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, signaled a dramatic shift in the politics of the rich democracies.In Anti-System Politics, Jonathan Hopkin traces the evolution of this shift and argues that it is a long-term result of abandoning the post-war model of egalitarian capitalism in the 1970s. That shift entailed weakening the democratic process in favor of an opaque, technocratic form of governance that allows voters little opportunity to influence policy. With the financial crisis of the late 2000s these arrangements became unsustainable, as incumbent politicians were unable to provide solutions to economic hardship. Electorates demanded change, and it had to come from outside the system. Using a comparative approach, Hopkin explains why different kinds of anti-system politics emerge in different countries and how political and economic factors impact the degree of electoral instability that emerges. Finally, he discusses the implications of these changes, arguing that the only way for mainstream political forces to survive is for them to embrace a more activist role for government in protecting societies from economic turbulence.A historically-grounded analysis of arguably the most important global political phenomenon at present, Anti-System Politics illuminates how and why the world seems upside down.
Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:
15 April 2020
Introduction The New World Order: The End of Social Democracy and the Rise of the Liberal Cartel The Failure of the Liberal Cartel: The Political Consequences of the Financial Crisis of 2008 Varieties of Anti-System Politics The Implications of Anti-System Politics: Nationalism, Socialism, Participation
Jonathan Hopkin is Associate Professor of Comparative Politics in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics. He is the author of Party Formation and Democratic Transition in Spain (1999) and co-editor of Coalition Britain (2012). He has published widely on the party politics and political economy of Europe. He contributes to several blogs and writes regularly for Foreign Affairs.
Reviews for Anti-System Politics: The Crisis of Market Liberalism in Rich Democracies
For anyone interested in understanding the current malaise in most democracies, this book is indispensable reading. Hopkin presents a very promising alternative to the current focus on 'populism' for explaining the increasing electoral success of political parties that challenges the established political order both from the left and the right. The argument that this fundamental shift is located in structural changes in the economy and not so much in cultural factors such as rising xenophobia is very convincing. -- Bo Rothstein, August R hss Chair in Political Science, University of Gothenburg Much scholarly 'strum und drang' has resulted from the 'populism is cultural' versus 'populism is economic' debate. Jonathan Hopkin provides us with an elegant solution to this conundrum - both sides get it wrong. In Hopkin's view what we are trying to explain is not populism. Rather, it's a distinct Anti-System Politics that has deep roots in the dysfunctions of post war party systems and their inability to the steer political economies that they govern in the neoliberal era. -- Mark Blyth, The William R. Rhodes '57 Professor of International Economics, Brown University No topic could be as important as the rise of anti-system parties in the US and Europe today, and no scholar better equipped than Jonathan Hopkin to explain the backlash against mainstream parties' failures to respond to citizens' discontent with 'neo-liberal democracy.' A ground-breaking book that explains not only how economic hardship and inequality have spurred the successes of the political extremes everywhere but also why this has played out so differently in rich democracies, depending on their social, political, and economic institutions. -- Vivien A. Schmidt, Professor of International Relations and Political Science, Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University