Europeans are mad as hell, and they’re not going to take this anymore! From Brexit Britain to the yellow vests on the streets of Paris, popular anger is manifest. Ten years after the financial crash, the people who caused the crisis seem richer than ever, while the people who suffered most have seen their wages stagnate. So, is rising inequality fuelling popular anger and extremist politics?
We had a comment sent in from Jovan, concerned that there were “parallels today with the 1930s, in how economic failure and widening inequality led to extremist fringes rising to the mainstream.” Certainly, the centre-ground in European politics can feel like a lonely place to be today.
On the one hand, populist parties failed to make any kind of significant breakthrough during the recent European Parliament elections. On the other hand, in several EU countries (such as Italy or, until recently, Austria) so-called far-right “populists” are already in government.
Inequality in Europe is a difficult thing to measure. Some analysts warn that rising inequality is undermining democracy within the EU. Others, however, suggest that inequality has risen slowly in Europe compared to the United States, or even that inequality in the EU is decreasing.
Does inequality lead to extremism? Is the division between the “winners” and “losers” of globalisation leading to the collapse of mainstream politics? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!