coronavirus, ideology, populism, utilitarianism, welfare-consequentialism
This article is about two ideologies. Welfare-consequentialism holds that government should adopt the policies that can rationally be expected to maximise aggregate welfare. Populism holds that society is divided into a pure people and a corrupt elite, and asserts that public policy should express the general will of the people. The responses of world governments to the coronavirus pandemic have clearly illustrated the contrast between these ideologies, and the danger that populist government poses to human wellbeing. The article argues that welfare-consequentialism offers a vaccine for populism. First, it rebuts populism’s claims about who government is for and what it should do. Second, the pessimism and distrust that make people crave populism can be satiated by successful welfare-consequentialist government. Finally, welfare-consequentialism’s sunny narrative of progress can be just as compelling to people as populism’s dark story has proven to be.
Semple, Noel. (2020). Welfare-Consequentialism: A Vaccine for Populism?. Political Quarterly, 91 (4), 806-813.