Foenander Lecture 2019 - Economic Policy in a Time of Reactionary Populism

Donald Trump's electoral victory in the United States and Brexit in Britain are symptomatic of the disarray of labour politics, and the failures of traditional parties to address the economic social concerns of their working-class constituencies for over 30 years. Initially that failure reflected the dominance of neo-liberal thinking and the so-called 'Washington census', but increasingly in recent years the policy debate has shifted dramatically. It is now dominated by what might be called the 'Silicon Valley consensus', and its mantra of 'innovation and entrepreneurship in the Knowledge Economy'. This, combined with the push towards globalisation, explains and justifies the increasing inequality of income and employment opportunity, as highly educated workers are rewarded by advanced technologies and the less skilled and less educated are forced to compete with the low wage labour of the developing world. But each of the elements of the Silicon Valley mantra are problematic and open to question. We will explore the nature of those problems and their implications for public policy and scholarly research.​