Economic Crisis and Populist Response: A Comparative Look at the Potential Threats to Democracy

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 18:06
Oral Presentation
Sang-Jin HAN, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea
Young-Hee SHIM, School of Law, Hanyang University, Republic of Korea
This paper conceptualizes populism as opposite to liberal democracy. Both liberal democracy and populism can be defined in terms of their basic attitudes toward political liberalism and economic liberalism. Liberal democracy shows high trust on the function of civil and political rights as well as the market economy. In contrast, populism shows high distrust on the function of political liberty and the market competition. We can place such options as liberal egalitarianism and authoritarian market preference in-between these two diverging orientations. This paper is an attempt to show the main characteristics of the populist response to the current economic crisis by empirically comparing populism with liberal democracy and the other two orientations referred to above. For this purpose, the survey data (2007-2013) of parliamentarians and citizens in advanced and new democracies of seven countries (Germany, Sweden, Korea, Poland, Chile, Turkey, and South Africa) will be analyzed. Based on this analysis, this paper identifies the potential threats to democracy in such characteristics of populism today as the highly emotional mode of political confrontation, support of strong charismatic leader, high distrust on professional politicians, preference of the rule by experts than politicians, and a pessimistic view of the economic future.