Populism is all the rage these days, quite literally. In the U.S. presidential race, populist candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have been making the running with verbal assaults on immigrants and Wall Street bankers respectively. In Europe, populists are in government in seven countries and make up the largest party in five. It is no longer unthinkable that a populist leader could head a major G-7 country.
The standard explanation for this phenomenon is economic. Since the global financial crisis that started in 2008, the world has been "turning Japanese," with growth weaken, deflationary forces entrenched and interest rates in the basement. The resulting mix of economic insecurity and rising inequality has fueled resentment against the political and business establishment which populists have been able to exploit.