As part of CFR’s Academic Outreach Initiative, I recently had the privilege of moderating a panel on inequality and the rise of authoritarianism with Jack A. Goldstone, Virginia E. and John T. Hazel professor of public policy at George Mason University; Shadi Hamid, senior fellow in the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution; and Kate McNamara, professor of government and foreign service at Georgetown University, and 2016–2017 distinguished scholar in residence at American University’s School of International Service. The panel was held at the International Studies Association annual convention in Baltimore, Maryland, on February 15.
For many, promises of prosperity seem to be replaced by job loss, low economic growth, and uneven distribution of wealth. This growing disillusionment with the status quo has not only resulted in declining support for liberal democracy, but also contributed to the election of U.S. President Donald J. Trump, rattled politics in the European Union, and brought forth a resurgence of strongman politics in the Middle East. Although the myriad of variables involved—economic, demographic, cultural, and political, to name a few—make it impossible to generalize for all 193 nation states, the panelists sought to identify some common drivers of the backlash against globalization. We also discussed the works of political theorists or historians that the panelists have found helpful as they try to make sense of the current domestic and international turbulence.
The full transcript and audio for the session can be found here.