Nationalism and populism: causes, culprits and solutions

Antonio Garrigues Walker and Susanna Griso

On 19 November 2018, the Rafael del Pino Foundation organised the dialogue "Nationalisms and populisms: causes, culprits and solutions" with the participation of Antonio Garrigues Wlaker and Susanna Griso on the occasion of the publication of the book "Manual for living in the era of uncertainty" published by Deusto.

Antonio Garrigues Walker joined the Garrigues firm founded by his father, Antonio Garrigues Díaz-Cañabate, and his uncle, Joaquín Garrigues Díaz-Cañabate, in 1954. He has held the position of chairman of the firm since 1961, when he was 27 years old. He also chairs the Garrigues Foundation and the Garrigues Chair in Global Law at the University of Navarra. Antonio Garrigues Walker is an internationally renowned jurist. His work as a legal expert in foreign investment in Spain is particularly noteworthy. He has advised large multinationals as well as the Spanish Government on economic legislation, especially in the field of foreign investment. He also provides legal advice and expertise to governments, such as the United States and Japan, in their relations with Spain. As such, he is an Honorary Trustee of the Spain-USA, Japan, China and Australia Council Foundations and Trustee of the Spain-India Foundation. His concern for the phenomenon of globalisation led him to be a pioneer in cooperation with international law firms, being, for example, President of the World Association of Lawyers. He is a member of the Spanish group of the Trilateral Commission. Alongside his work as a lawyer, he has always maintained an intense activity in the social, business and cultural life of the country. This was reflected in his political career. In 1982 he founded the Liberal Democratic Party (PDL), of which he was elected president. In 1984, this political formation was integrated into the Democratic Reformist Party, an operation promoted together with Miquel Roca to try to occupy the political space of the centre. Antonio Garrigues Walker has been appointed World Lawyer by the Centre for Peace through Law and life trustee of the José Ortega y Gasset Foundation. He was Special Advisor to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and is currently Honorary President of Spain with UNHCR. He was elected member of the National Accreditation Committee of ANECA (Agencia Nacional de Evaluación de la Calidad y Acreditación). He is also the founder of the Spanish Chapter of Transparency International (TI), an anti-corruption body. Antonio Garrigues Walker is chairman and director of several companies and Doctor Honoris Causa of the Universidad de Ciencias Empresariales y Sociales de Buenos Aires (Argentina), the Universidad Europea de Madrid, the Universidad Ramon Llull de Barcelona and the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas de Madrid.

Susanna Griso was born in Barcelona in 1969 and is a journalist and television presenter. She graduated in journalism from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Her professional career in the media began at Ràdio Sant Cugat and Catalunya Ràdio. He made the leap to television in 1993, presenting the talk show Tres senyores i un senyor on TV3. Subsequently, he presented Fora de joc and the news programmes on this regional channel. In 1997, he joined Televisión Española to present the Catalan edition of the news programme. A year later, he joined Antena 3. He presented Noticias 1 alongside Matías Prats for a long period of time. Since 2006, he has presented the daily magazine Espejo Público. She also presents the talk show Dos días y una noche. Susanna Griso has been awarded different prizes such as the Antena de Oro in 2006, Micrófono de Oro in 2008 and the Premio Ondas in 2010.


On 19 November 2018, a dialogue on "Nationalisms and populisms: causes, culprits and solutions" took place at the Rafael del Pino Foundation with Antonio Garrigues Walker, president of the Garrigues Foundation, on the occasion of the presentation of his book "Manual for living in the age of uncertainty". Garrigues began by referring to the women's movement, initiated with #MeToo, which implies a tremendous sociological change. This change is not over, but is just beginning and must lead to women's empowerment as well. With regard to populism, Garrigues pointed out that when talking about its causes and remedies, we must accept that we are living through four revolutions at the same time: a sociological revolution, that of women; a technological revolution, a scientific revolution and a political revolution. This creates a feeling of insecurity in people, that they are not in control of their movements. In this context, populism has devoured the Western world, as shown by events such as Trump's victory, Brexit, the rise of Alternative for Germany or the coming to power in Italy of a coalition of two populist parties. The only exception is Japan, because it is an island and a little far away, but also, and above all, because in the Eastern world the general interest prevails over the individual. To develop, populism has to have culprits, culprits other than itself. This gives it access to a political market that is currently empty. Take, for example, the case of Trump. In the United States, the middle class represents 72% of the population and earns less than it did ten years ago because wealth there is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, as shown by the fact that the share of total wealth of the richest 1% is growing. Clinton does not represent that middle class while the Democratic Party does not present an alternative offer to Trump, it is not known what it is proposing. All she is doing is disqualifying Trump, when disqualification is a way of reinforcing populism. Trump, on the other hand, talked about the problems of the middle class and won. The fact is that a social contract has been broken whereby economic growth was to be pursued, without a fair distribution of the income generated. If inequality becomes excessive, it generates a backlash against the system. Another important factor in explaining the rise of populism is China's entry into the World Trade Organisation, which has allowed it to reduce its enormous levels of poverty through the globalisation of society and the massive movement of people from the countryside to the city. China's rise is used as an example to question the economic and democratic model because of the example it provides of a country with a communist dictatorship being able to develop in economic terms as it is doing. In this context, the democratic West is having serious problems because in countries such as Russia or China an autarkic power of one person has been consolidated. In the face of this, the Western political system is not working well, it is not effective, which leads people, especially young people, to think that it is not the best system to solve problems. Democracy will change the day there is a particular electronic vote, because the democratic quality will be much better, because it makes it easier to vote. The problem is that electronic voting poses technical problems. With regard to the technological revolution, Garrigues pointed out that there is nothing in life that is absolutely good or absolutely bad. We are beginning to experience phenomena of technological tyranny. But human beings have adapted to all the changes and revolutions that have taken place in society. Therefore, it makes no sense to be afraid of the changes that are going to take place. In relation to immigration, Garrigues pointed out that Spanish society's solidarity with immigrants and refugees is exemplary, but the fear of immigrants is being taken on by the political class. Populism knows that this gives votes and uses it, for example, the advocates of Brexit or the German ultra-right. This is infecting all politics, but if there were a common European policy, that would be the perfect way out. In this respect, we must not forget that the history of humanity is the history of migration. Trying to stop them is futile. What we should do is to help the migrants' countries of origin, because setting up a country is difficult and takes a long time. We must also implement policies for the integration of immigrants, otherwise we will have problems.

The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for the comments, opinions or statements made by the people who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their sole responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio González, are the result of the debates held at the meeting held for this purpose at the Foundation and are the responsibility of the authors.

The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for any comments, opinions or statements made by third parties. In this respect, the FRP is not obliged to monitor the views expressed by such third parties who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their own responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio J. González, are the result of the discussions that took place during the conference organised for this purpose at the Foundation and are the sole responsibility of its authors.