Keeping ideas open will help trump extremism

Posted on 16/11/2016


Nationalism is on the rise. Brexit, Trump and Le Pen are just the most high profile examples. But around the world, prejudice is trumping reality.

The rise in inequality around the world is creating strange political bedfellows and changing the way people vote which isn’t captured by the pollsters.

More worryingly, Trump’s victory signals a victory for polemic over fact.

This trend first came into focus during the Brexit debate and is being fuelled by reckless politicians, a compliant media and the increasing decline of social media into a self-reinforcing echo chamber, where people only hear what they want to hear.

The main legacy of 2016 will be a political system which values opinion over expertise. But here is where those who believe that fact and rational debate need to replace propaganda can fight back.

Project Syndicate was established in the early 1990s to assist independent media in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe. It provides commentaries from experts, based on facts not rhetoric to media across the world.

Publishers in the developed world pay for the content, while those in the developing world have access to the ideas for free.

They have just launched a campaign to keep the world of ideas open – this could never be more important.