The Political Economy of Contemporary Populism

Our academic working group exploring the economics of contemporary populism is a joint project of the Van Leer Institute and Shaharit. The group is led by Shaharit Senior Fellow Ofer Sitbon, CEO Dr. Eilon Schwartz, and Ben Gurion University Professor Danny Filc, and consists of a mix of 25 academics (from the IDC, Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, and Sapir College, among others), doctoral candidates, civil society actors, and public intellectuals. The opening conference of the working group was held in June 2018, and it has been meeting monthly since October 2018.

The goal of the group is to investigate the rise of political and social populism as manifested in a variety of global trends (the 2016 US Presidential Election, Brexit, and the weakening of the traditional political parties in Europe, among others) and to challenge the political and socioeconomic discourse on two different levels:

  1. Politically, by exploring the dichotomies between neo-liberalism and social democracy and between conservatism and progressivism, proposing practical policy implementations that bridge these worlds and provide for a different economics.
  2. Through research that explores the lower and working classes in Israeli society – their economic profile, cultural and social identities, and political stances – in order to create a socioeconomic policy that is relevant to their worlds of meaning.

In the future, the group plans additional conferences, academic publications, book translations, and public events.