Contrition deficit

This is a long article by Sebastian Mallaby that Niranjan shared. I read it. It is supposedly a critical look at the flaws and failures of experts but ends on a predictable and familiar note berating populism and populists. The condescension and the lack of humility among the so-called experts and their friendly critics is part of the problem.

If the cult of the expert lasted some 328-30 years, the cult of populism won’t go away in half a decade.
The pejorative sense in which populism is used in the article and elsewhere assumes a trade-off between the short run and the long run and that populism trades off the latter for the former. For the most part, it is a legitimate criticism. However, some of Trump’s proposals – such as making the Federal Reserve more accountable and a flat  tax (amnesty) to bring corporate cash hoard from abroad back into America, detente if not entente with Russia are sound proposals. They may be or may not be populist but they are sound too.
Finally, the elites and the experts have not given up. Hillary’s victory might just embolden them to become more brazen and stupid. Elites refuse to acknowledge and admit their role in the rise of populism. Instead, they find it far easier to decry populists as stupid and dangerous. That won’t work.
This article leaves the contrition deficit among elites unaddressed. Indeed, whatever good work it does in the early parts is undone towards the end.

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