Populism Against Progress
And the Collapse of Aspirational Values
About The Author
Robert Corfe is a prolific writer who has written extensively on the benefits of social capitalism. He is a political scientist and businessman, with considerable experience of political life, and in this book he sets out the arguments for a worldwide systematic anti-Americanism, as the only means for reviving effective democracy. For many years he was a senior manager in manufacturing industry, and later a management consultant advising SMEs, usually in the engineering sector.
He is also the author of two autobiographical books under different pseudonyms: Death in Riyadh dark secrets in hidden Arabia (Geoff Carter), based on his experiences as a businessman in the Middle East in the 1980s, and, My Conflict with a Soviet Spy the story of the Ron Evans spy case (Eddie Miller), based on his adventures in Scandinavia in the 1960s. In 1987 he founded the Campaign For Industry, to which he was elected Chairman, and for which he wrote many pamphlets on the problems of contemporary business. His broad experience, frequent travels overseas, and years of residence in Continental Europe have given him a unique perspective of socio-economic issues.
About The Book
The increasing complexity of industrial society, together with the prospect of economic and environmental threats on a scale never before experienced, entails an ever-greater demand on the educational and citizenship-skills of the ordinary individual. An appropriately educated public is needed to ensure effective democracy, and also, that suitably qualified men and women are elected to power – and this is something which transcends the narrow factor of party politics.
Unfortunately, as this book demonstrates, in the industrialised world today we live in a society where standards of education and good citizenship are declining, relative to the increasing complexity of the financial-industrial infrastructure, and the prospect of unprecedented threats on the horizon. The author attributes this decline to what he identifies as populism, defined as the short-termism of the easy option which compounds rather than resolves the issues of life. These are traced to two main sources: firstly, the faulty values promoted by or arising from political decision-making; and secondly, from the malign influence of marketing forces on public attitudes in dumbing-down standards in so many spheres of life.
Whilst a new perspective is put on politics, of most significance is the emphasis placed on education. The question of maintaining high culture, and correlating this with the needs of a classless and democratic society, is a theme which dominates the book. The appeal for raising aspirational standards in a heterogeneous society, challenge some of the totemic ideas in contemporary education, such as the questionable value of relativism and post-modernism as a preparation for good citizenship.
A sociological analysis of populism reveals it as the cancer of democracy. The breadth of the subject matter covers such issues as Islamic fundamentalism in barring the path to progress; the self-destructiveness of Western politics through a facile view of our real condition; and a glance at the arts. A broad canvas, covering many disciplines in the social sciences, is evoked in furthering the crucial arguments in this interesting book.