Larchmont has written a very cogent reply to Mr. Barber’s essay on the European Populists. Let me presume to add another dimension to the debate, which is ignored at The Financial Times and it’s sister publication The Economist: the utter failure of Neo-Liberalism, and it’s successor Austerity to answer the catastrophic failure of that very Neo-Liberalism: these facts play no part in an answer to the scourge of the fading European Populism, as argued in Mr. Barber’s rather low key but transparent polemic. An indictment of both left and right as the political center has mitigated the predations of the Crash of 2008. The whole of Mr. Barber’s argument doesn’t even approach economic/political intelligibility!
Never will these reporters and editorial writers, at either publication, address that issue as a matter of ideological solidarity. So what we readers are confronted with is a tale of the rise of the dreaded Populists, without historical context, that renders Mr. Barber’s essay into the realm of the blunderingly comic: think of the the herky-jerky movement of slapstick comedies of the silent era, and their use of title cards to move the story along. It isn’t the perfect analogy, but it is a characterization that might best describe the root of Mr. Barber’s maladroit a-historical polemic in defense of The Free Market.