Freedom from Democracy: Progressive Populism and the Rise of Global Corporate Power

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This article examines what McKnight (2018) refers to as “progressive populism” and argues that the rise of progressive populism in contemporary western democratic societies is directly related to the emergence of neoliberal governance regimes and the rise of global corporate power. Utilizing insights from both scholarly literature and popular commentary it outlines the rising counter assault by global corporations and governments since the 1960s to reserve and impede the increase of democratic rights for previously marginalized sections of many western democratic societies. It is crucial not to dismiss the power of global corporations and the rise of neoliberalism at the expense of the collective security of societies as just another form of elitism attacked by ordinary people. Corporations want freedom from democracy by usurping capitalist economic systems. They represent a disfiguration of representative democratic principals that culminates in paradoxes of liberty that progressive populists are contesting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-55
Number of pages19
JournalDemocratic Theory
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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