Populism in Argentina and the world

On December 10, “Populism in Argentina and the world” was presented by UCEMA Ediciones and Editorial Claridad, compiled by Emilio Ocampo (academic counselor of Libertad y Progreso) and Roque Fernández. The presentation was attended by John Taylor, director of the Stanford Introductory Economics Center, former Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs and member of the Presidential Council of Economic Advisers of the United States.

The book, the first of Ucema Editions, is launched taking advantage of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the University. Ediciones UCEMA aims to disseminate content of public interest by renowned academics linked to the University.

“Populism in Argentina and the world”, edited by Roque B. Fernández and Emilio Ocampo, deals with a topic that is always hot in Argentina: populism. Account with essays by Jorge Ávila; Rafael Di Tella; Juan Manuel Dubra; Roque B. Fernández; Fernando López-Alves; Paula Monteserin; Emilio Ocampo; Sybil Rhodes; Jorge Streb; Carlos H. Waisman.

The articles included in the book were written independently, in some cases specifically for inclusion in this volume, and provide different perspectives -from economics, history, sociology and political science- on this historically relevant phenomenon for Argentina and currently for the developed world.

The articles are accessible to a non-academic audience except those of Di Tella and Dubra and, especially Fernández, who rigorously demonstrate their hypotheses with models of algebraic maximization. However, the reader without mathematical training can obviate these demonstrations without making the arguments and conclusions less understandable.

There is a coincidence between some authors -for example, Rhodes and Streb, López-Alves and Ocampo- that the Argentine case is paradigmatic and that their study helps to understand the nature of populism in other latitudes.

A little over a decade ago the British political scientist Margaret Canovan observed that very few of her colleagues believed that populism deserved their attention because they considered it a “pathological symptom of a social disease” or a political phenomenon that eluded a precise definition. Things have changed since then. Although for decades populism was an almost exclusive political phenomenon of Latin America, in recent years it has become globalized, both in its left and right versions and today dominates the politics of advanced countries.

As Argentine politics demonstrates daily, populism refuses to disappear. This makes it important to understand their true causes. As many of the articles included in this volume emphasize, the political validity of populism is partly due to its strong cultural, economic, psychological and institutional roots.