Three excellent readings to consider this week — each offering valuable insight in themselves, and together painting a compelling and concerning picture of where we might be headed:
- First up, in the FT, Noreena Hertz excerpts her forthcoming book, The Lonely Century: Coming Together in a World that’s Pulling Apart. In this article on “Why Loneliness Fuels Populism,” she shows how more and more people are feeling more alone — socially, economically, and politically — and are turning to the tradition, song, and camaraderie of populist parties to feel alive and connected.
- Also in the FT, Martin Sandbu writes that “Populists and Kleptocrats are a Perfect Match.” It’s easy to fixate on “populists'” accumulation of power, but what if power is only the means to their real end: money? We shouldn’t be too surprised if those who attempt to buy power intend to use power to build wealth.
- In the Atlantic, Barton Gellman chillingly examines “The Election That Could Break America.” From the mechanics of running an election in the midst of a pandemic to the norms that continue to enable rather than restrain the president, the setup doesn’t look good. And then you add in the character of a person who has never lost or conceded anything in his life (at least in his mind), and ask yourself, how will he concede the most powerful position in human history?