Thematic axes Global Challenges

Colin Crouch: "Institutions remain intact, but power moves to the elites"



Colin Crouch, a political scientist and sociologist, aroused interest in the audience that filled the Auditorium of the Palau Macaya. Conceptualizer of the term post-democracy, a few years ago that predicted some phenomena that we are currently experiencing as Trump, Brexit or the rise of xenophobic and populist parties. What, then, is post-democracy? According to Crouch, it is a system in which artificial competition is created that substitutes institutional democracy. The center of the decisions, then, is not in the traditional institutions, although they remain intact, but rather they move to economic and corporate elites. This phenomenon is partly offset by civil society movements that have a non-negligible political influence, such as the feminist movement, the environmental movement or the various ultra-right movements.

In this power gear, the neoliberal system, as the predominant economic system, plays a key role. No doubt neoliberalism has been one of the catalysts of globalization, a positive system on the one hand, but that has allowed a great deregulation and that has caused clashes between countries and within the same countries. It is in this context that there is a rise in xenophobic and populist movements.

The rise of the conservative movement has ended up opposing neoliberalism, which defends large, open and universal markets and is not interested in marking borders. The most conservative and xenophobic movements, on the other hand, are frontally opposed. This opposition provokes certain tensions in the conservative neoliberal sector, which often falls into contradictions. But the great victims of the current game board are the left, the most absent in power.

For Crouch, the current situation demands institutions that go beyond the nation state. Institutions that need legitimacy and democracy to be effective, but in addition, it is necessary for citizens to feel identified with them.

Read the interview in El Nacional here.
Read the interview version in El Nacional in Spanish here.