I’ve been mulling over the roots of populism which has given rise to Brexit and President-elect Trump and what may be the imminent collapse of the Eurozone.
Were there signs we missed?
One journalist suggested the tea leaves predicted this after banking meltdown in 2008–which made people suspicious of globalism.
I think the demise of freedom movements in North Africa and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq also contributed–especially since so little seems to have changed despite the promises and loss of life. It feels like the West (and I include Canada and Britain in this) wants to hunker down and lick its wounds and pull the covers over its heads.
My theory is that pop culture caught a whiff of this sense of danger a decade ago. The Hunger Games trilogy was published between 2008 and 2010 and the view of the dystopian future in which children’s future (and lives) are traded for a relatively peaceful present feels prescient.
In many way, we are in the midst of a revolution of rising expectations. For generations, we have been telling our kids that they would do better than us–get more education, get a white collar not a blue collar job, own their own homes, travel (and not just in the RV or camping.) We painted pictures of a brighter future for each successive generation. We now know that’s not true.
Youth today will not do better than their parents–priced out of urban housing markets, trained for jobs that may disappear, settling for contract positions with no benefits.
This uncertainty, this fracking of the fundamentals of society, began years ago. In many ways, today’s populism feels inevitable.