Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Availability bias in politics

Six months ago, nobody expected Macron to be French president and Corbyn to be the new star of British politics. Now everybody seems to believe that they should be imitated, anywhere. Some even think that a synthesis between both of them is possible, like Will Hutton in The Guardian. It is a good example of the availability bias combined with hindsight bias. Is it possible to replicate Macron in another country? Is it possible to replicate Corbyn? I doubt that I had voted for any of them, at least in a first round or in a primary election. I can't think of any politician that resembles either of them in Spanish politics. Macron is a uniquely French figure that can be explained by a combination of luck, skill, trial and error, and evolution, similarly to Corbyn in England. Both of them have good things, which could be seen even when their success was deemed unlikely. Macron is a bold pro-European leader full of energy. Corbyn is an honest egalitarian politician. But their bad things are as equally visible today as they were six months ago. Macron is an elitist individual whose professional experience was among the olygarchic banks. Corbyn is an old-fashioned trotskist, who has been lucky to receive some lessons from Bernie Sanders, who looks centrist compared to the British labour leader. I will be happy if both of them do well, hopefully eliminating their bad sides. I would be especially happy if the combination of both of them reinvigorate the space between the center and the left in Europe. But I do not count on it. Most likely, politics in Europe will keep evolving, and if there is any jump it will be in some unexpected direction.

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