How Did We Get Here? The Roots and Future of Populism

 

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Session

How Did We Get Here? The Roots and Future of Populism

Setup

The confluence of globalization and the information revolution has primed the United States, and the world, for a resurgence of populism. Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” explains how the populist ideology helped President Trump win the White House. Trump’s message of cultural anxiety connected with voters, but it’s not an unfamiliar ideology. Zakaria opens the history book and explains how past trends are re-emerging today. He also reflects on the rise and root causes of populism from his own experience, as an immigrant.

  • 2017 Festival
  • USA
The world is globalized and hyperconnected, and there’s no going back
The world is globalized and hyperconnected, and there’s no going back
What’s a trucker to do when they’re replaced by a self-driving vehicle?
Rising immigration is the best bellwether for modern populism.
Populist leaders become popular by playing the everyman
America needs to think about job retraining on a massive scale
1.

The world is globalized and hyperconnected, and there’s no going back

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07:26

Although smartphones, global supply chains, and artificial intelligence are ubiquitous today, it’s easy to forget just how recently these innovations seemed fantastical. Globalization and the Digital Revolution delivered a one-two blow to the world many people who are alive today thought they had a place in, argues CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. But there’s no way to opt out of these changes.

it’s not just individuals and communities who are grappling with the maelstrom of technology and power. Governments and nations must contend with new rules for how to maintain their own power, nonetheless how to jockey for world position.

A many-to-many network system does not allow for that kind of crucial power that the State had always had — that ability to control information and control the narrative.
Fareed Zakaria
2.

What’s a trucker to do when they’re replaced by a self-driving vehicle?

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19:00

Technological innovations and a global workforce have combined to divorce capital from labor, argues Zakaria. And while that may have some upsides, it’s a harsh reality for many breadwinners to swallow. Their roles in the economy, their identities as professionals, and their purposefully constructed lives are being turned upside down. Watch as Zakaria uses the trucking industry as a prime example of the precipice many blue-collar workers find themselves teetering on today:

Screen Shot 2019 04 10 At 858 30 Am
What’s a trucker to do when they’re replaced by a self-driving vehicle?

The future that many truck drivers see coming in their rear-view mirrors is one that came for American manufacturers, retailers, and laborers, and it’s unnerving.

3.

Rising immigration is the best bellwether for modern populism.

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22:04

Populism used to be traced back to a single source: the economy. The populism of Latin America in the 20th century, for example, was seen as an almost direct result of dire economic circumstances. So why are many populist movements today springing up in affluent global powers? While every populist movement has its nuance, postulates Zakaria, he argues that this new wave populism is centered around immigrants and immigration.

The percentage of foreign-born people is at its highest rate in over a century after reaching 13.7% in 2017, according to US census data. The foreign-born population reached its last peak in 1910, with 14.7% of the population being born outside the United States.

That doesn’t mean economic angst doesn’t play a role; immigrants have been scapegoated for economic turmoil since time immemorial. But modern populists see immigrants not only as an economic threat, but also as an existential one.

4.

Populist leaders become popular by playing the everyman

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29:16

It’s no secret that most Americans vote with their gut, not shrewd policy analysis. So what makes someone as rich as Donald Trump appeal to blue-collar workers? Zakaria thinks it’s the same thing that made Bill Clinton so popular, and that’s an exceptional ability to be seen as an everyman in a suit:

Screen Shot 2019 04 10 At 859 51 Am
Populist leaders become popular by playing the everyman

5.

America needs to think about job retraining on a massive scale

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39:17

Politicians are quick with words of dismay about the job loss due to globalization and technology that’s central to populism, but they’re short on solutions. Fareed Zakaria thinks he has one:

Zakaria concedes that it’s an ambitious plan, but he points to Germany’s apprenticeship system as a blueprint for retraining and growing blue-collar jobs in America.

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Additional Information

Resources

"Robust Apprenticeship Program Key To Germany's Manufacturing Might" from NPR

"Western Populism May Be Entering an Awkward Adolescence" from the New York Times

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USA

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How Did We Get Here? The Roots and Future of Populism

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