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Three reasons why the international Right has prospered during capitalism's "crisis"

“This financial crisis is for capitalist neoliberals what Chernobyl was for the nuclear lobby.”

- Daniel Cohn-Bendit in 2008

This week's Economist looks at some of the reasons why the Right has actually done rather well in electoral terms (eg at last year's European Elections) over the last two years:

  1. The popular backlash against capitalism has not been substantial: "Polls suggest that the popular backlash against the economic system has been less sharp than the left expected. Last November a survey of 29,000 people across 27 countries (almost all democracies) by GlobeScan and the BBC World Service found that only 23% agreed that capitalism is “fatally flawed” and needs replacing. Some 51% believed it had problems that could be addressed through regulation and reform, and a further 11% were happy with the system as it is. Similarly, there was more support for an increased government role in redistributing wealth and regulating businesses than for outright state control of big industries."
  2. Certain right-wing issues are more salient during recession: "Non-economic issues dear to conservatives—like crime, immigration [see here] and national security—matter at least as much in recessionary times. Certainly, Mr Cameron’s narrative of British social decline has resonated with voters. For Mr Sarkozy, a firm line on crime and the secular ideals of the French republic have been keys to success."
  3. The right has embraced more interventionism: "Pressure from within her own party that persuaded Mrs Merkel to set up a vote-winning “Germany Fund” to help businesses cope with recession. Gaullists love Mr Sarkozy’s support of a Tobin tax on currency speculation. Some Tories may grumble about Mr Cameron’s accommodation with Labour’s “big state”—but they do so quietly. He has had the latitude to make promises to protect health spending and clamp down on bankers, while avoiding promises to reverse recent tax rises." This has caused calls for Mrs Merkel to pursue a more "pure CDU" and Sarkozy has been attacked for his ideological confusion.

Read the full piece in The Economist.


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