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Authoritarianism and How to Counter It

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After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was assumed that liberal democracies would flourish worldwide. Instead, today authoritarian leaders are gaining power – from Trump’s US and Bolsonaro's Brazil to Orban's Hungary – while Russia and China have turned back towards their old, autocratic traditions. This book examines the origins and implications of this shift, and focusses especially on the longstanding coercion of poor people. As industrial employment, and now also many service jobs, are being replaced through technological innovations, state-subsidised, low-paid, insecure work is being enforced through regimes of benefits cuts and sanctions. Authoritarians are exploiting the divisions in the working class that this creates to stoke resentment against immigrants and poor people. The author identifies new social movements and policies (notably the Universal Basic Income) which could counter these dangers.

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