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October 10, 2019 Centre for Peace and Justice

The rise of illiberalism in developed countries and increased authoritarianism in developing ones showcase right-wing populists using past incidents and fearmongering to sway the median voter into bashing an opponent, said a professor of the economics of conflict and peace.

This takes away attention from the real issues, leaving the median voter no better with their incomes still below the per capita, added the teacher, Syed Mansoob Murshed, during a public lecture at Brac University (BracU).

Titled “Populism, Identity and Illiberal behaviour”, the event was organised by the Centre for Peace and Justice of BracU on Sunday, 15 September 2019.

The magnitude of job losses and wage contractions during the advanced stages of globalisation and technical progress far outweighs gains from cheaper import prices, said the professor associated with the International Institute of Social Studies.

The rules of globalisation and capitalism only serve elites who are owners of internationally mobile skills and wealth, said Murshed, who also teaches at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam and Coventry University.

Greater mobile capital shifts the burden of adjustments to economic shocks more to labour while highly mobile international capital lowers corporate taxes and fiscal space, which could lead to too much inequality, he said.

In the absence of effort, luck and prudence, inequality leaves one poorer than one’s parents and leads to hopelessness and a lack of faith on the political system, he added.

With politics and economics being inseparable as economic institutions determine growth but in turn are determined by formal and informal politics and power, this leads to a cyclical phenomenon, said Professor Murshed.

Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Mohammad Tamim moderated the event.