What Is the Future of Politics?
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What Is the Future of Politics?

Against the background of the changing geopolitical landscape, the Credit Suisse Research Institute invited a number of international policy experts, former policy-makers and strategic clients of Credit Suisse to discuss the "Future of Politics." The key themes were the rise of populism across the developed world, migration pressures in several geographies, and current decision-making difficulties faced by mature democracies.

In his opening remarks, Chairman Urs Rohner highlighted the changing geopolitical order away from globalization and several shifts within mature economies – especially the developments that many societies are currently going through, summarized by one of the expert speakers, Dr. Francis Fukuyama, as "political decay."

In the discussion sessions, the participants agreed that the trend towards a populism-driven electoral campaigning has been facilitated by growing wealth inequality, job insecurity, migration pressures, and an adverse reaction against "elites."

In particular, concentration of wealth towards the upper segments has enabled elites across mature societies to influence the political system to further their own interests. In democracies relying on engagement with interest groups, decisions that tend to be unrepresentative of the public as a whole have increased disproportionately. As a result of their own design, mature democracies often react poorly when faced with major challenges, which reinforces the public distrust. With established institutional structures failing to evolve and meet the needs of changing societies, political movements move towards the extreme sides of the spectrum.

This year's  CSRI annual meeting was attended by a number of renowned political experts, such as Denis McDonough; Dr. Francis Fukuyama; Professor Brian Nolan; Professor Michael Ting, Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH and General Colin Powell (Ret.)