In This Review

By Eric Lonergan and Mark Blyth
Agenda, 2020, 192 pp

Framed as a dialogue between a hedge fund manager (Lonergan) and a political scientist (Blyth), this equally entertaining and rigorous book locates the roots of today’s angry, antiestablishment politics in macroeconomic and financial instability, technological change, and rising inequality, which together have created a sense of economic exclusion and insecurity. But despite emphasizing the economic origins of political movements, the authors build less than one might expect on the extensive scholarly literature on economic populism and give short shrift to explanations that focus on culture and identity politics. The book is strongest when it offers novel policies for stabilizing the economy and for addressing stagnation and insecurity, including two-tier interest rates (one at which the central bank lends, and another that it pays on deposits or reserves), cash transfers to households (“helicopter money”), and a national wealth fund to tackle inequality.