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Anxiety plus ignorance: Why Millennials are embracing socialism

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22.02.2019

If a week is a long time in politics, as British prime minister Harold Wilson once famously remarked, then 30 years is an eternity.

In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Empire collapsed. The end of the Cold War, we were told, buried the idea of history as the armed rivalry of opposing ideologies. It was widely believed that liberal democracy was on the march and market economics was universally accepted as superior to socialism.

However, the world has not followed the end-of-history script.

West Berliners watch East German border guards demolishing a section of the wall on November 11, 1989.Credit:AFP

In recent years, a plethora of books lamenting the crisis of Western democracy has been published: How Democracies Die, How Democracy Ends, The people vs Democracy, Fascism: A Warning and so on.

Meanwhile, socialism has been resurgent, especially among the so-called Millennial generation: those born between 1982 and 1998. This week’s cover story of The Economist is headed “The Rise of Millennial Socialism”.

Virtually all of America’s Democratic presidential candidates are lurching left and embracing business-bashing populism. According to Gallup last year, 57 per cent........

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