On 28 May 2019, the Philosopher Michael Sandel, who has received the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences in 2018, gave a presentation at the conference: “Populism, nationalism and uprising against elites”. Michael Sandel is professor at Harvard University and considered as the “most relevant living philosopher” (Newsweek), is also known for bringing up reflection to global audiences, raising ethical questions in open and public debates.
According to Sandel, neoliberal globalisation has increased inequality and exclusion: "we live in a time of winners and losers, in which the chances of success multiply in favor of those who are already fortunate. The consequence is a mixture of anger and frustration that has fueled populist protest against political elites and conventional parties.”
In Sandel’s opinion, an empty political discourse, devoid of moral significance, in which politicians "do not listen, shout slogans and ignore each other, is not democratic and what it should be done is to listen more to whom we do not agree with”. Nowadays, he says, market thinking and values dominate all the values of life and define political discourse and civic life. "We have become market societies."
In addition, conventional parties "have accepted the technocratic way of public discourse and have left citizens with a feeling of abandonment”. In this sense, Michael Sandel argues that the center-left parties "must learn from the populist protests, not by incorporating aspects such as xenophobia, but by taking into account the legitimate complaints of citizens. It is not easy but we have to try”, he concluded.
Michael Sandel's talk is part of the Garmendia Hitzaldiak initiative dedicated to Professor Francisco Garmendia and was organised in collaboration with DeustoForum and the Provincial Council of Bizkaia.
For further information:
- Michael Sandel’s website
- Video: “Global tour”
- Video-interview: “Today people only listen to opinions that reinforce what they already believe”