Are Brexiters stupid?
in What’s in it for me?
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National populism involves hostility to external influences, blaming immigrants, the EU and multinational firms for the problems of the common person. The worldview appeals to citizens with low income and education, yet its potential to damage these groups is well-known. The Brexit vote was a classic case; even though a British exit from the EU was considered likely to harm low-income voters, such groups tended to support Leave. It is tempting to conclude that some engage in self-harm, yet this can be linked to the non-material interests of such citizens. These groups have less capacity to adjust to a globalized world, related to their low skill profile, meaning that they favour worldviews which stress collective identity and preservation of local conditions.

National populism suffers from serious externalities. Because the worldview stigmatizes others, reflecting energy generated in defence of local conditions, it causes internal and external disorder. The former involves victimization of minorities and is disagreeable, yet the latter is particularly serious; scapegoating of other states heightens international tension, increasing the probability of conflict.

What’s in it for me?

Self-interest and political difference

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