Talk on Crony populism

Centre for Policy Research & Trivedi Centre for Political Data (Ashoka University) invite you to a talk on


Crony populism

In new turn  recently, Venezuela’s currency rout hits a new milestone at 200,000 per dollar. Prime minister has cultivated a group of friendly businessmen in what critics call crony capitalism.“Corruption before 2010 was rather a dysfunction of the system,” he says. “Today, it’s a part of the system.”

A conversation with Michael Walton and James CrabtreeThursday,

9 August 2018,

3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The full talk will be streamed through Facebook live on CPR’s Facebook page.

Populism has emerged in various forms in many parts of the world in recent years. While it is typically associated with an anti-establishment and anti-elite narrative, it is striking how it often coincides with cronyism—favored relations between the state and (some) big business. This talk will seek to put some structure and perspective on these phenomena, interpreting the central features of both populism and cronyism, and their consequences for economic and social development—that is (perhaps surprisingly) ambiguous. For example, in India, Tamil Nadu has in the past been, by international standards, a real success in economic and social development, even as it has vividly exemplified both populist politics and cronyist state-business relations. The current conjuncture will also be explored.

The talk will draw on both an ongoing comparative study of state-business relations in India, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa and secondary literature on the history and contemporary features of cronyism and populism.

Michael Walton teaches at the Harvard Kennedy School, and is a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research.

James Crabtree is a writer, journalist and author living in Singapore. He is currently an associate professor of practice at the Lee Kuan Yew School at the National University of Singapore, and a senior fellow at the school’s Centre on Asia and Globalisation. His first book, The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age, was published in July 2018.

About the Series

The CPR-TCPD Dialogues on Indian Politics is a monthly event that brings together academicians, policy and political practitioners, and civil society actors to grapple with important social and political issues in India. It provides a forum for intellectually rigorous, non-partisan commentary to strengthen public discourse on politics in India. In these polarised times, debates on politics in India have tended to be increasingly noisy, blurring the lines between critical engagement and partisan endorsement. This dialogue series is an effort to carve out a space for critical, nuanced engagement to understand the changing dynamics of Indian political parties, the impact of new and emerging social movements and the use of new instruments of mobilisation in our polity.

The CPR-TCPD Dialogues is curated by the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) and the Trivedi Centre for Political Data (TCPD) at Ashoka University. Founded in 1973, CPR is one of India’s leading think tanks, providing rigorous policy research on a variety of issues. Founded in 2015, TCPD is among India’s most well-respected institutions working with political data, providing data-driven research, policy work and journalism on India’s political life by producing and disseminating in open access scientifically collected and treated political data. The CPR-TCPD Dialogues leverages the unique strengths of these two institutions to provide rigorous and innovative commentary on India’s social and political challenges.

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