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Business elites and populism

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This project asks how business elites across a range of different countries are responding to the rise of populist politics which disrupts their expectations about the conditions under which firstly they can influence governments and secondly about the appropriate policies for sustaining stable economic growth. Populist have in various ways attacked the shibboleths of neo-liberal economic orthodoxy within which business elites were able to exercise strong influence and power on policy. Populist attacks, couched in the language of 'the people versus the elite' , have focused on free trade, on labour migration, on expertise, on central bank independence, on the legitimacy of international institutions and rules, on climate change, on a free press, on judicial independence, on transparency of business affairs. They have used social media in new ways to undermine traditional political fora and have disrupted elections and legislatures with a range of new strategies and tactics. Our project asks how are business elites responding to these challenges, e.g. in the UK over Brexit, in the US, Trumpian politics.

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