EFN 2012 Statement on Liberal Views on Populism
We the liberals believe that populism is the promise of state-mandated,unsustainable benefits to the broader population without consideration of the long-term costs and benefits. It relies on highly emotive statements. Infact, populism is counterproductive to general well-being and progress, asillustrated by the economic decline of the many countries that havepursued populist agendas.We are concerned that governments in Asia are turning away from thepolicies which have been demonstrated to promote prosperity in manyparts of the world.We are confident that people will reject populist policies once theyunderstand the true costs associated with them.Those costs include an increasing dependency on the state, weakening therule of law, property rights and individual freedom. Populism also reducesthe ability of individuals and local communities to make their owndecisions, and undermines the competitiveness of businesses.Recent moves in Asia to subsidise food and fuel, and to transfer cash areall examples of populist policies that have done more harm than good.We are confident that if Asia commits itself to liberal values such asproperty rights and the rule of law, the region will prosper.