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The chapter asks the question how crisis management is related to the emergence of populism. First it provides a summary of the main findings from the case studies on the relationship between institutions, trust, and crisis management. Then it elaborates on the idea of limited government, which involves the rule of law, international rule of law, size of government, and political and civil liberties. By reviewing the changes in these dimensions during the period of crisis management in the eight countries, it categorizes the cases into three groups, which show different characteristics along these lines. The main argument of the chapter is the central argument of the book: a commitment to limited government is associated with both economic success and resistance to populism. In contrast, a steady deterioration of institutions without an elite commitment to checks and balances eventually resulted in the takeover of government by populist forces in Greece and Hungary. While the latter did not experience an economic collapse, its performance is inferior to both Latvia and Romania.
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The concept of populism is highly contested. Here I rely on the definition by Mudde ( 2004: 543), who conceptualizes populism as “an ideology that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic groups, ‘the pure people’ versus ‘the corrupt elite’, and which argues that politics should be an expression of the volonté générale (general will) of the people.” On the debate over the main definitions of the term, see Müller ( 2016): 7–12.
Rothstein ( 1998: 167) argues that the universality of welfare benefits is particularly important, as it ensures that everyone in society benefits from state redistribution. By experiencing the high-quality services provided by the government in the fields of health care or education, for example, people are also willing to pay their share of taxes.
The text is available at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:12012P/TXT. Accessed: 2 July 2017.
In April 2017 the higher education law was amended to require intergovernmental, federal-level agreement for non-EU universities for further functioning as well as an operating campus in the home country. As CEU is the only American-chartered institution, which operates only in Budapest, the requirements clearly aimed at its closure or re-establishment somewhere else. The law on NGOs, which was passed in June 2017, requires civil organizations, which receive over 24,000 euro from abroad, to register as “foreign-supported,” which is reminiscent of the foreign agent law in Russia that aims to stigmatize and weaken NGOs.
Concerns over the rule of law in Greece have also emerged in August 2017 due to the freezing of the bank accounts of a leading magazine over a reader’s letter as well as the prosecution of a former statistics chief, Andreas Georgiou. See: Hope ( 2017).
Data is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/budget/figures/interactive/index_en.cfm. Accessed: 2 July, 2017.
The idea of macroeconomic populism strongly draws on the Latin American experiences. See Csaba ( 2009): 88.
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- The Politics of Crisis Management: The Role of Limited Government
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