Visiting Professorship - Fred Block

Why are Liberal Democracies in Crisis?

November 11th, 2021, 8 PM CET (Online)

This lecture will explore the similarities and differences between the crisis of democracy in Europe in the interwar years and the contemporary global crisis of democracy. It will focus on the process of political polarization that diminishes the strength of established centrist political leaders and opens the way for more heterodox leaders of the right or of the left. 

The lecture will draw on Karl Polanyi’s work to understand the underpinnings of political polarization.  Why do many people abandon previously held political commitments and embrace views that would previously have been dismissed as “fringe” or extreme?  How do we understand the mix of material and ideal interests in explaining these shifts in belief?