Facilitate People’s Networks As a Basis for New State Legitimacy
Supporters of populism insist that the state should exclude irregular members of society and provide job protection and income redistribution only to citizens. However, the desire to limit immigration cannot be legitimate because it would injure the government’s legitimacy as a protector of human rights and would actually not relieve the supporter’s concerns. The real cause of their anxieties is that their jobs are increasingly substituted for cheap and standardized ones. A solution would be to make their jobs less substitutable by situating them in more diverse, creative and meaningful social contexts in which unique skills and knowledge are valued. Immigrants should also be included in these social networks because problems they allegedly pose and that populists detest are often caused by their social isolation. In the end, both populists and immigrants have a similar desire of being included in diverse and meaningful social networks.
This network desire has been regarded as a favorable but not central one that states must meet to maintain their legitimacy, because welfare regimes and labor unions based on strict membership protected people’s lives. However, membership has decreased and therefore states have to focus more on supporting open networks. People, regardless of nationality, should have equal opportunity to pursue meaningful life in social networks. States should promote public endorsement for this ideal by strengthening support for people's networks and showing that this benefits all of them.