The 1970's witnessed the institution of political liberalism in Greece, which went hand in hand with significant social and economic advancement. Four decades later, the same country is a latter-day 'sick man of Europe'. What went wrong? And why did the more recent global crisis plunge Greece into abject misery? This study provides compelling and original answers to these questions through putting populism at center stage. By introducing new concepts, focusing on micro-mechanisms, and empirically analyzing a large variety of sources, the author shows how populism became predominant in Greek politics and contaminated all major political parties, eventually causing a major polity crisis. Besides its particular interest in the specific case of Greece, the text offers new insights about how states may fail, how populism develops at single-nation level, and what could happen when it reigns supreme. It also makes a strong statement about the corrosive power of populism on modern liberal democracy.
Takis S. Pappas is Associate Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Macedonia, Greece, and a Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy. He is the author of two previous books and many articles on party politics and political leadership, among others. He currently lives in Strasbourg, France, working on a new book project about Europe's populist voters.