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Beyond Binaries: Technocracy, Populism, and Public Policy

Pabst, Adrian (2023) Beyond Binaries: Technocracy, Populism, and Public Policy. National Institute Economic Review, 259 . pp. 67-80. ISSN 0027-9501. (KAR id:102207)


Populism is a paradoxical phenomenon that resists easy categorisation because it both rejects and intensifies

certain elements of technocracy. Populist politics is at once a backlash against liberal-technocratic ideology

and policy and an attempted corrective of some of its worst excesses, such as increasing inequality or

pressures on wages. Despite deep differences, both rest on a binary logic that conceals alternatives to the

convergence around variants of techno-populism defended by either ‘corporate populists’ or ‘insurgent

populists’. One alternative is a public policy programme focused on the building of an economic democracy

with more democratic workplaces and a greater emphasis on the dignity of decent jobs, besides policies to

reduce regional disparities and foster shared prosperity. But policies alone cannot fully address the deepseated

grievances fuelling the support for populists. Fundamental institutional reform is needed to devolve

power and wealth to people and the places where they live and work.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Funders: National Institute of Economic and Social Research (
Depositing User: Adrian Pabst
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2023 12:45 UTC
Last Modified: 31 Dec 2023 00:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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