Skip to main content

Understanding Democratic Disenchantment in Rich and Poor Countries

May 06, 2024
Pranab Bardhan

Talking Policy Podcast
Pranab Bardhan

This year, more voters than ever before will take part in national elections. At the same time, democratic norms are under threat globally. Why is this happening, and what should be done about it? In a new episode of Talking Policy, host Lindsay Shingler talks with Dr. Pranab Bardhan, a distinguished professor emeritus of economics at UC Berkeley, about his book, A World of Insecurity: Democratic Disenchantment in Rich and Poor Countries. Bardhan shows that both cultural and economic insecurity are contributing to the trend of democratic backsliding, and offers perspectives on policies that would make citizens of democracies more secure while protecting the processes and norms of democratic governance. This interview was conducted on April 16, 2024. The transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

Subscribe to Talking Policy on SpotifyApple PodcastsSoundcloud, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Lindsay: A record number of elections are taking place around the world this year. And yet, in many places, democratic institutions are under attack. And they’re under attack by the very people who have been voted into power. Why is this happening? And what can be done to reverse this trend?

Welcome to Talking Policy, the official podcast of the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. I’m Lindsay Shingler, associate director of IGCC. I’m joined today by Dr. Pranab Bardhan, a distinguished professor emeritus of economics at UC Berkeley, and one of the leading voices in development economics. And he’s here to talk about his book, A World of Insecurity: Democratic Disenchantment in Rich and Poor Countries. Dr. Bardhan, thanks so much for being with us on Talking Policy.

Pranab: Thank you for inviting me.

Lindsay: So in the introduction of your book, you cite a number of statistics that show that something is wrong with democracy all over the world. So for example, autocracies now rule the majority of people in the world. The number of liberal democracies is on the decline over the last decade.

To help our audience get situated in this space, can you describe, in general, what exactly is happening? And can you give us an example or tell us a story that is emblematic of this phenomenon?

Pranab: Yes. Thanks for asking that question. Because this to me is a very important question in today’s world.

So, I primarily was interested in writing this book because I saw among different countries—of course, I’m talking about democracies, although I will later talk about one of the important autocracies—but in countries which are described as democratic countries, there is a kind of erosion of democracy. And this is not just the United States, but even Great Britain. Then you know Hungary, Poland. Poland just came out. That’s one of the positive factors.

Even though the legislature is still dominated by the previous party. Then Turkey… I think recently Slovakia joined in.

And of course, Italy is now ruled by a party. In fact, that happened after my book came out, Italy. And in Sweden, Sweden Democrats, that’s an extreme right-wing party. And then extreme right wing in France, under Marine Le Pen, and in Germany. And then of course, my own country where I come from, India.

Now, when I said erosion of democracy, what exactly do I mean? Now, democracy, in my judgment, has two major aspects. One aspect deals with what we call participatory democracy. Participation is the most [important] element of that. And, and the other is what we call procedural democracy. There are certain procedures of democracy.

If you take these two different aspects, the countries where these populist demagogues coming up and coming to power are quite influential, they’re actually, in terms of participatory democracy, quite up on it. In fact, a lot of people are participating in electing or rallying under the banners of these people. So participation wise, it’s okay. But it’s the procedural part of democracy… that’s really getting hurt. And what do I mean by procedures? What I mean is certain rules, certain due process under the rule of law. Certain institutions of checks and balances. Those are parts of processes.

And also, I’d add to that, there are certain constitutionally mandated rights to have equal dignity of different groups. Because one of the problems is that there’s not enough protection of minority rights under these new regimes. So it’s the erosion of democracy in the sense of disrespect or violation of some of the standard procedures of democracy, and some of the standard checks and balances, and some of the standard rights of minorities and others.

Lindsay: So a lot of the books and articles that have been written about democratic backsliding—democratic disenchantment, as you call it—have focused on the United States and Europe, or kind of the West. But your book is different. You take a truly global perspective of this. Can you talk a little bit about the sort of novel contribution that your book makes to this space?

Pranab: Yes. There are many actually in the market, there are many books on democracy now, and some of them are very good books.

But as you said, they’re primarily concentrating on United States and Western Europe. My book goes to developing countries, and particularly, I’m from India. This is the largest democracy in the world and so that immediately interested me. And then I talk about some other developing countries, but particularly I focus on, apart from India, two other developing countries.

One was when I was writing the book, Brazil was ruled by Bolsonaro. So Brazil also, like Poland, has just come out of that. But Bolsonaro’s party is still quite dominant in the Brazilian legislature. And the other country I talk about in some detail is Turkey—or what they call now, Türkiye.

But generally, I found that there are some similarities in the process of democratic erosion between the developed countries and these developing countries. But there are also interesting differences, particularly between say, India and the United States, in the composition of the groups which are supporting this erosion.

So in general, in rich countries altogether, but certainly in the United States, supporters of Trump are more rural, older, and less educated. These three characteristics always get mentioned.

If you look at India, it’s exactly the opposite. The major supporters, the most vocal supporters of Modi are the young, aspirational, urban. So it’s not old, it’s not rural, it’s not you know, the less educated.

That is a major difference of my book from the others. A second one is that at least when I started writing the book, many economists, my fellow economists, but also some political scientists were emphasizing the effect of inequality, this rising inequality all over the world, making working people disenchanted with democracy. Because democracy was being dominated by, you know, very rich people.

I don’t think inequality is the major reason for this democratic disenchantment. I particularly emphasize insecurity. And what I have in mind is that, if the working classes were really bothered by the inequality, they would not have rallied on the banner of these billionaires.

Trump is a billionaire. Brexit Britain, the main leader was Nigel Farage. He owns hundreds of millions of dollars. Hungary, Viktor Orbán is a billionaire. Marine Le Pen in France is a billionaire. Of course, Putin is a billionaire, but he’s no longer in a democracy. In Türkiye, Erdogan, Erdogan is a billionaire. Yeah. Of these leaders, Modi is not a billionaire, but he’s quite cozy with billionaires.

So if workers are really worried about inequality, why are they rallying under the banner of these billionaires and other plutocrats? One of the first things they do after coming to power is lower the taxes of the rich, lower the regulations on the businesspeople.

So that’s certainly not in the top of the priorities of the working classes. So I dare say, maybe the working class is worried about insecurity rather than inequality. In some sense, many workers do not really have an idea of how the top one percent live or how they accumulate their wealth. They do know their own lives are insecure.

This insecurity is not just economic insecurity. Economic insecurities, of course, very important, like job losses, income losses. Those are important parts of insecurity of working-class life.

But I also talk about what I call cultural insecurity. And what do I mean by cultural insecurity? I’ll explain by just giving examples. To me, right wing populist demagogues, one of the main causes they’re really rallying people for is immigration. Immigration is part of a cultural insecurity in the sense the majority of people worry about how their cultural norms might get diluted by these alien people with alien cultural norms coming and taking over and all that. So that’s in many rich countries because rich countries have this immigration problem.

But what about developing countries? Some developing countries have immigration problems. One of the huge issues is South Africa being somewhat better off than some adjoining countries in Southern Africa. So there are a lot of immigrants there. And so South Africa is an example of a developing country where immigration has raised anxieties.

But in general, other particularly poorer countries, immigration in general is not that much of a problem. But there, there are other cultural issues. India, for example, the major cultural issue around which the right-wing party has rallied people is religion. Just as immigration generates anxiety about racial minorities and immigrants in white majority countries, similarly, in Hindu majority India, anxiety about the Muslims and other minorities.

Lindsay: One of the peculiar things that has been happening as you said, is that rather than democracies being toppled by military leaders or coups, over the last three decades democracy has most often broken down by elected governments under the watch of voters who elected them into power.

And so your book looks very closely and carefully and thoughtfully at why populations would allow this to happen, why they would be drawn towards politicians who are inclined to trample on democratic values and rights. And, you know, a lot has been written trying to explain this because all of us, whether we study this for a living or not, we’re all kind of aware that something is happening and we’re all looking for explanations. I found your explanation more resonant than anything else I have read, and I just found it very exciting that someone was speaking to the sort of economic issues that underlie a lot of this.

And so, I want to go back to what you said. You have presented a lot of really interesting data that shows that there has been, over the last several decades, as you call it, “a grotesque rise of inequality”. And there are a million different statistics that we can cite to back that up. And we all certainly, I think, feel it, even in our own lives.

And at the same time, recently a rise in far-right populist leaders who have these authoritarian impulses. And if they’re elected, participate in this sort of hollowing out of democracy. But you challenged the idea that it’s inequality alone that is driving that, and instead, you propose this idea, which you just described, of insecurity—which again, it really resonated with me.

Can you say a little bit more about the economic insecurity piece? What does that look like? And again, how is it different in rich and poor countries? In developing countries, we would expect that. In rich countries, maybe we would expect there to be more supports to mitigate the risks that we all face. What does the economic insecurity look like?

Pranab: Yes. On this, of course, many other books as well as articles discuss this about inequality in rich countries, particularly United States. United States, particularly the working classes, bore the brunt of what is called the China shock. This massive imports of cheap, Chinese, labor-intensive goods: textiles and garments, furniture, toys. That’s why it started, but then it went into mobile phones and laptops, et cetera. And now the Chinese have now graduated into more technically sophisticated goods, but it started with labor-intensive goods.

And therefore, the corresponding labor-intensive industries in the United States got hurt, because they couldn’t compete with the Chinese on this. So a large part of the Midwest and the South got affected. So now, there are studies which show that areas which got particularly hit by Chinese imports, were also areas where support for Trump was largest.

So there is a connection there, but that’s not the only thing. I think people have a tendency to blame foreigners for their problems. Now, there’s a great deal of geopolitical tension with China. So China fits into this role of devastating the jobs situation and income uncertainty of workers. But that is not the only reason. In fact, I would say in terms of data, you will see a larger cause is automation. Even if the Chinese were not there, Chinese were not successful in doing that, workers would have felt severe job losses because of automation itself.

So automation to me is maybe even more important than international trade. But two together, I think, really dealt a severe blow. And this is where the less educated issue comes up, because as the economy shifted to more a kind of knowledge economy, rather than the old traditional industries, workers, in order to take advantage of the new jobs that are opening up, needed more skills, more education, more training, and many of them lost out. So older, rural, less educated, that’s the reason: because jobs shifted to areas and occupations where you need more skills of various kinds.

Lindsay: Yeah. Well, so why, in India, are Modi’s supporters primarily… you said “young, urban, and educated”? Is economic insecurity a part of what’s driving them towards the kind of Modi model?

Pranab: I would say cultural insecurity is probably more important than economic insecurity, but yes, economic insecurity as well. And that’s partly because of the way [the] Indian economy has developed. [The] pattern of development in India [has] been what they call jobless growth. There’s been [a] high rate of growth, but employment has not grown proportionately, and that goes back to something that I mentioned before: automation.

As a result, India is growing, but jobs are not growing that fast. So going back to your question, young people still face economic insecurity. They are not sure about when they go to the job market, they will get good jobs.

So what Modi has done, in order to distract attention from these young people that he’s not being able to give them enough jobs, distract them with issues of nationalist glory. He says, “I’m going to make India a great power”. It’s like you might call ‘making India great again’.

That is part of it. The other is religion, because religion is a big divide in India and Modi is really using that. Let me mention, though, 80 percent of Indian population is Hindus. Okay. How do they feel insecure vis a vis about 14 percent are Muslims? Modi’s party always emphasizes that, look, yes, Muslims are only 14 percent now, but wait, fertility rate of Muslim women is much higher on average, which is true. This is what in the European and American context is called the great replacement theory. This, by the way, is very popular now among right wing intellectuals. That yes, these minorities and immigrants may be small in proportion now compared to the white majority, but they’re going to outnumber us very soon. In India, it’s even more extreme that they’re going to Muslim women’s fertility rate being higher.

If you take the Muslim woman’s fertility rate in a part of India where the education level is high, state of Kerala, the fertility rate of Muslim women in Kerala is much lower than the Hindu woman’s fertility in North India, where education is educationally backward. So it’s not religion, it’s the education level of the mother. That is the primary determinant of fertility rate.

So there are ways of making, I call it in my book, manufactured victimhood. Trump does that: “We are besieged by immigrants” and you demonize the immigrants. In India, manufactured victimhood of the overwhelmingly large numbers of Hindus.

Lindsay: I should say, I mean, there’s an important link for our listeners between economic inequality, going back to inequality, and the ways in which that harms our politic, democracy, by weakening the power, the voice of the majority and giving obscenely outsized influence to elites who essentially can, can bend the rules of the game in their favor and that this in turn, you know, creates this huge acceleration of wealth at the top while eroding over time, different protections. Whether it’s healthcare or it’s job training or childcare so that women can stay in the workforce. All these things that then are what are underlying what you’re talking about, economic insecurity, at least in the U.S.

So these things are not, like, on their own. They all are sort of interacting together…

Pranab: In fact, I use the term economic insecurity and cultural insecurity intertwined.

But let me mention here a difference, big difference, between United States and Europe in this respect. Because, as you correctly pointed out, the United States, the working-class people, their safety net, is rather weak. What they fall back upon is very weak. There’s something there, but it’s very weak compared to Europe.

Lindsay: That’s so interesting. Yeah. And I mean, throughout your book, there, you would, there would be these, sentences that like in Europe, there is a relatively strong safety net for X or Y; In the U.S., it’s patchy—which I thought was a generous way of describing it; And in developing countries, it’s nonexistent. And you repeated that kind of over and over again.

And I’m an American, this is a perpetual question that I ask myself, is why we are an outlier in this very tragic way, and I’ve never gotten a good answer for it other than, you know, rugged individualism or something. But you pointed out this really kind of like mind-bending paradox of voters who are experiencing, at least in the case of the U.S., certainly, economic insecurity being driven towards and drawn towards these populists who are themselves part of the 1%. And you noted that for the most part, I mean, there are some exceptions, but voters are moving to the right, not to the left, like when we talk about populist leaders. And the word populist gets thrown around a lot, can you actually explain to us, like Trump isn’t how I would normally conceive of a populist leader. So there’s kind of an interesting twist on populism now. Can you talk us through this? Like what’s going on?

Pranab: I think the word populism, I actually like to avoid that term. That’s why I talk about right wing extremism rather than populism. But I cannot avoid the term because it’s used all the time.

Different people mean different things by populism. Economists, when they talk about populism, what they mean is another word would be short termism, namely something is populist when that will help you in the immediate enjoyment of benefits that long-term is going to hurt you. But this is not what political scientists call populism. I think what political scientists mean by populism is this: those who violate the procedures of liberal democracy.

And even though I’m an economist, in this book, I’m actually taking more the political scientist definition.

One of the reason[s] why these things in more recent years got accelerated, this tendency of the working class going right: influence of social media.

In fact, now we have data on this. Right wing has an advantage in social media, has almost an inherent advantage.

And let me just quickly cite one piece of data, which I, which I cite in the book, in the 2016 presidential election in the United States, Trump versus Hillary Clinton, they collected data from Facebook. False stories spread by Trump’s people, how many times do I recycle it in Facebook? The total number happens to be exceeding 30 million.

Now there are fake news items, even on the other side. Yes, there are false news favoring Hillary Clinton, too. How many times were they recycled in Facebook? 8 million times. 8 million to 30 million. So the right wing has an advantage, because the more outrageous the lie is, it gets viral. It serves the business model of the social media companies because they then get more advertisement revenue, et cetera. So those two things, to me, also played a very important role.

Lindsay: So there’s, there’s a lot of anxiety in the U.S. in Washington about the allure of China as an economic and political model, and discussions about the threat of China wooing, you know, especially developing countries and potentially weakening Western influence and democratic values and human rights. And in your book, as you said, you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of China’s model.

So, I mean, what are they? You know, you used a phrase in your book that the world has been “awestruck” by the Chinese model that promises this incredibly accelerated development, growth, you know, lifting people out of poverty while preserving independence. So it’s this very alluring model. But what are the strengths and weaknesses? If we care about democracy and human rights, how should we think about it?

Pranab: There are many items of strength. Let me emphasize one, I already very briefly talked about earlier, decentralization. the big Chinese successes in the world market, these are not nationally produced. Some of these are owned by the municipal government.

Now China is coming big in the electric cars, right? If you follow, you’ll find it’s one municipality is producing them.

They did that because they gave [a] lot of autonomy to the local governments. China is a unique mixture of political centralization through the Communist Party, and economic decentralization to this local governments and municipal governments in terms of their business development.

But decentralization is something that other countries can do as well. You don’t have to be an authoritarian government to have decentralization. In fact, decentralization is a major part of democracy. Most of the time we talk about democracy, we’re talking about the central government. But we have to go down to the small towns, villages, municipalities, where you can bring local democracy. So to me, it’s actually an important part of democracy. We don’t follow it in democratic countries as much. But this is very important.

What I don’t like about the Chinese government, obviously, is authoritarianism, and that’s exemplified by the current leader, who’s actually super leader, even more authoritarian than the earlier leaders in China, Xi Jinping. Now when you have a supreme leader like that, [the] supreme leader being a human, like all humans are going to make mistakes… but nobody will tell you that you are making mistakes.

Democracies on the other hand, people are always criticizing you. So you’ll come to know about something going wrong quite early because it will come up in the discussion. And therefore democracies correct their mistakes much more. Democracies also make lots of mistakes, but they correct their mistakes much faster.

Democracies can do in fact better than China if they follow what is replicable in a democracy of what China has done and then not follow the authoritarian part.

Lindsay: Yes, and I think in a world facing pandemics and climate change and these crises, you do hear, you know, that there’s this sort of need for a strong state, and you make the point that the features of a strong state do not necessarily depend on authoritarianism.

So the last third or so of your book is just a fantastic look at different policy proposals, interventions. There is so much to cover. We’re not going to be able to cover it all here. But after you look carefully at the problem that we are all facing, you propose a range of different policies and kind of go through them for social democracy.

Can you tell us about that idea, which sort of forms the basis, you know, for this, for, for these different policy interventions. Like what is social democracy and how is it different from just democracy or socialism?

You make the point, you know, that Bernie Sanders, who we all know here, of course, and his supporters will often refer to themselves as socialists. And you said, no, you’re social democrats, actually. So what is the social democrat? What is that?

Pranab: The distinction between democratic socialists, Bernie calls himself, wrongly I think, and a social democrat, is that socialism is quite often associated with public ownership of the means of production, that’s the original Marxian definition.

So in other words, big companies will be run by the state. I don’t think Bernie Sanders is proposing that. So for him to be, call himself a socialist, he actually means social democrat. He means two things, I think. One is that you have to devote more attention to the welfare state, to essentially, social protection of workers. Insurance against that economic insecurity.

The second part of social democracy, to me is—and this is actually related to the first—is how much importance do you give to labor? So social democracy is much more labor friendly in general. United States is an exception again, compared to Europe where you will find trade unions much stronger.

Western Europe governments are much more labor friendly. Labor has much more of a say. United States companies are very much anti-union. Only very recently you see some resurgence. So social democracy, the second part is about being labor friendly.

Elizabeth Warren suggested two policies, many policies, but two important policies, which to me are social democratic policies. One policy she suggested was wealth taxation. You want to reduce their wealth and use that money for helping workers. And that, by the way, is proposed by many social democrats, not just wealth tax, higher rates of inheritance tax and so on.

The other part is, and this is also Elizabeth Warren mentioned, giving voice to labor in running of companies. The best example in the world is not a socialist country. Best example of giving voice to labor is Germany, having labor friendly capitalism without giving up on innovations.

Lindsay: Yeah. Yeah, and that leads into my next question. So you go through a number of different policies that include strengthening the power and voice of labor, of workers. Strengthening their ability to bargain, reforming the tax system, taxing the rich, taxing inheritance, taxing capital gains. You know, kind of reconfiguring the subsidies and the role of government in helping ordinary people pool risk through, you know, things like healthcare, et cetera.

The counterargument against these kinds of policies always seems to be that it can’t be done without hurting productivity, profits, innovation, and our standard of living. Always. But you give examples that suggest that that’s actually not true. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Pranab: Right. People usually talk about in that context, Scandinavian countries, particularly because Scandinavia is a very good welfare state, but have they given up on capitalist innovation? No.

So, for example, the World Intellectual Property Rights Organization, that’s a UN organization, which every year publishes what they call a global ranking of innovations, global ranking of different countries in terms of rate of innovation. United States is up there, no doubt. But equally up there is Germany. Equally up there is Sweden, Denmark. So these countries are much more labor friendly than the United States. And yet, they have not given up on innovation.

You have to do a lot of reforms, of course, labor friendly reforms. And in fact, when you give labor more voice, they sometimes help you in going in directions, which actually are good for innovations. In Japan, in Germany, since there is much more coordination between the supervisors, and the employees, so the workers say, by the way, in doing this task, I found this, you can improve on this. So day in, day out, the workers are giving suggestions for improvement, which then increases productivity. The Japanese have a name for it, they call it Kaizen. That’s the Japanese term.

When we talk about innovation, yes, we need [a] high rate of innovation, but that’s not enough. The pattern of innovation is, to me, just as important because I don’t want innovations that’s going to replace jobs. Workers will lose jobs. And unfortunately, if we don’t do anything, AI is going to do the same thing. Artificial intelligence is going to replace jobs. But if workers have a voice, they can influence in which direction what is called R&D, research and development, of the company, which direction it will go.

And there are now a lot of studies which show AI, you can direct in labor empowering, labor absorbing direction. Rather than the labor replacing direction. So I think it’s crucial how you direct and the pattern of innovation and in that the voice of workers to me is very important.

Lindsay: One of the things that you propose in the book that you mentioned is modifying the election system in the U.S. so that elections are at least partially publicly funded as opposed to our current model, which is unregulated, sort of limitless corporate money.

And this is really important because this then underlies our whole system and the policy decisions that are made. I wanted to ask if there are good models, a good model or example that you could give us, of where that is the case, where there is some public funding for elections, and are there kind of pluses and minuses with that? Is that something that you think we could do here in the U.S. to kind of mitigate some of the entrenched interests?

Pranab: Well, by the way, most people… today’s what? April 16? Yesterday, when they filled in their taxes, 1040 form, the top right-hand corner, you will see a little box: “Do you want three dollars to be contributed to the fund for the presidential election?” If you check, many people don’t check it, it says it is not going to affect how much tax you pay. We just, if you say yes, we’re going to give three dollars to the fund. So there is a little bit, very tiny bit of funding.

Lindsay: Shoot, I need to check that box next time.

Pranab: (laughter) It’s too late.

Lindsay: Yeah, it’s too late.

Pranab: But in other countries, that is a much larger amount. You don’t have to go very far. Just look North: Canada has partial public funding of elections. And so they’ll, you will not see this grotesque, again, I’d say use that word, grotesque way of funding of elections in this country.

This year, it so happens that Biden has raised more money than Trump, but it’s a grotesque way because even Biden, when the Democratic Party raises money, those who give you the money, they expect something in return. And also that influences policy.

But there are other examples in Europe, particularly: Spain, Belgium, Germany, and Sweden. Sweden is particularly interesting because Sweden gradually switched from corporate donation to public funding.

I don’t have time to go into this, but there is a recent book by, I think she’s an economist, Julia Cagé is her name. She’s actually the wife of Thomas Piketty. His wife, Julia Cagé, has a recent book called The Price of Democracy, and she discusses many different ways of public funding and different problems with this and that.

One of the immediate things most countries should do is make private donations not tax deductible. This is the way they make huge tax deductions.

Lindsay: And you mentioned Piketty’s Capital and Ideology, another must read on this topic.

Last question, you know, you touched on the idea—didn’t just touch on, your book delves deeply into the issue of cultural insecurity as well, and we haven’t talked as much about that, but in Chapter 6 of your book, you say that “social democrats should keep in mind that their strength ultimately lies not in fighting battles on new frontiers of identity puritanism, but in finding ways of transcending the divisions in society that are based on identity.”

I thought that was really provocative. Especially, I don’t know, in the U. S. context. You talk about a kind of cultural and identity community values vacuum that can be created in a society that is so focused on individualism and autonomy and choice. And that that vacuum is very happily filled by the far-right demagogues that we’ve been talking about.

I’m just curious, I mean, but these identities are also important, and I can understand the perspectives of, of people who are pushing for very specific rights for different marginalized and vulnerable communities. I mean I just, I would be interested in your, your comment on that issue and your reflection…

Pranab: Let’s take the issue of affirmative action, which the white majority in this country, not all white majority but some, think it’s a kind of cutting in the line.

Instead, I think we should be much more open to the poor of all communities, because there are a lot of poor working-class people. So if you make it more economic justice, instead of catering to a sectarian, narrow sectarian group, you make it somewhat more general. It’s part of a humanitarian uplift. So even uplifting the poor of the ethnic majority.

And the other is nationalist glory. Let me end with a story from soccer that in Chapter 6 I mentioned. So many of these anti-immigrants all over the world, and certainly in Europe are very much anti-Muslim, because many of these migrants are Muslim coming from North Africa, et cetera. And, and I think it’s very important that people should take pride in their cultural distinctiveness. But at the same time, your nationalism can be much more inclusive. Much, much more tolerant of diversity. And I give the example of football, in Europe, soccer in this country.

So I give the example of Liverpool football club in England. The most high scoring, center forward player is a Muslim. He’s a devout Muslim from Egypt. His name is Mohamed Salah. But he score[s] so many goals that one of the popular chants that roars out of that huge stadium says, “If he scores another few, I will be Muslim too.” That’s the mainly white working-class stadium.

Lindsay: (laughing) I love it. I love it. Yeah.

Pranab: So that tells you, we can take pride in our nation’s glory. But can, at the same time, be tolerant of diversity inclusiveness.

Lindsay: Dr. Pranab Bardhan, thank you so much for being with us on Talking Policy.

His book, A World of Insecurity: Democratic Disenchantment in Rich and Poor Countries, really an absolute must read. Everybody should go get a copy of this book. It is so good. Thank you so much for being with us.

Pranab: Thank you for inviting me.

Lindsay: Thank you for listening to this episode of Talking Policy. Special thanks again to our guest, Dr. Pranab Bardhan. His book, A World of Insecurity, is available now from Harvard University Press.

Talking Policy is a production of the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. This episode was produced and edited by Tyler Ellison. To ensure you never miss an episode, subscribe to Talking Policy wherever you get your podcasts. 

/ / /