Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

When Polanyi met Farage: Market fundamentalism, economic nationalism, and Britain’s exit from the European Union

Hopkin, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0002-3187-4013 (2017) When Polanyi met Farage: Market fundamentalism, economic nationalism, and Britain’s exit from the European Union. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 19 (3). pp. 465-478. ISSN 1369-1481

[img] Text (When Polanyi Met Farage) - Accepted Version
Download (298kB)

Identification Number: 10.1177/1369148117710894


The vote for Brexit is not an isolated event, but part of a wave of populist, anti-elite revolts: a new ‘anti-system’ politics Western democracies are experiencing, shaking the existing consensus around economic integration, free markets and liberal values. This wave takes a variety of forms, but has in common a robust, even violent, rejection of the mainstream political elites and their values, and a demand for governments to act on the sources of social and economic distress and inequality. This article views Brexit as a part of this new anti-system politics, a reaction to the decline in ideological competition in democracies and the increasing impotence of politicians to address the upheavals wrought by global free market capitalism. This reaction has become particularly acute after the financial crisis of the late 2000s, which affected Britain disproportionately, and the failure of austerity policies to revive growth, crystallising the ineffectiveness of existing policies to deal with economic stagnation and cultural change. This policy failure is compounded by a perceived refusal of politicians to engage with the broader public and a lack of real choice between the mainstream political parties. The article will present evidence that a failed policy consensus, a rise in inequality and a decline in the representativeness of political elites, rather than a resurgence of intolerance or xenophobia, are the principal causes of the Brexit vote.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2017 11:24
Last Modified: 22 May 2024 19:39
Funders: Staff Research Fund

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics