Populism is a predictable recurring feature of any society that is unwilling or unable to be as democratic as it claims to be.
Why was the first Gilded Age a time of sometimes violent resistance, while ours is an age of acquiescence? Steve Fraser's answer is twofold: capitalism has changed, and so has the social imaginary that enfolds it.
When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio announced his papal name, he stoked hopes for a season of reform in the spirit of St. Francis. In the weeks since, the Argentinian pontiff, who was shaped in part by his experiences in Buenos Aires’ villas miserias, has not disappointed. Pope Francis has garnered headlines with his simplicity, as well as with his calls for a “Church for the poor.” The surprise his actions have met reflects, among other things, this: that when it comes to the matter of the haves and have nots, Christians these days tend not to rock the boat.