David Lizoain Bennett, a Spanish fluent Canadian economist, presented his last essay on ‘The End of the First World’ at Librebook on 7th of March.
In this book, Benett raises the issue of the spreading of populism and nationalism across the Western countries. It is particularly relevant in the context of Brexit and the recent elections that made far-right wing parties strong political forces in Italy, Germany, Austria, France etc. In parallel, the liberal parties face decreasing influence and credibility within the people.
Benett then aims to understand and explain the upcoming challenges that we all will face as well as suggesting some solutions to rebuild social democracy. As a Brussels resident, the essay also should be of interest, as it deals with European perspectives and political coalitions.
“The book is a mix of rationality and imagination”, Javi Lopez, a Spanish MEP (S&D) said. “It seems to me the left-wing parties should endorse some of the ideas the book emphasises”, he added.
Benett then took the floor to present his views on the economic, social and political current situation. “We are at a moment of decomposition”, he said referring to the state of play of the left-wing political forces. “The economic crisis and the policies of austerity have pushed populism back to the forefront,” he added. He also advocated the policies conducted by Barack Obama, Matteo Renzi or José Luis Zapatero, which are presented as liberal, but do not offer an appropriate answer to the rise of the right and far-right policies and mindset in the society.
The future should then focus on well-being, he states. Policies should aim to ensure well-being by integrating workers into the society. Increasing tax burden to benefit to the lowest social categories could be one of the options, as the higher you get, the more you can give. “It allows you to ensure social redistribution”, Javi Lopez said.