A Window into the 2020 Election? Populism and the 1890’s Financial Crisis?

Title: A Window into the 2020 Election? Populism and the 1890’s Financial Crisis?


Briefing Primer

  1. Bottom line: Your two-page policy briefing (word limit: 850 words) should offer a recommended course of action.
  2. Coherent Story: Your briefing should have an introduction, body, and conclusions, just like a paper.
  3. Introduction: What is the problem? Why is it important? What is your one-sentence bottom-line?
  4. Body:  You should explicitly identify your policy recommendations and their expected effect. Why is your proposed course of action better than alternative policy solutions? Make sure to outline concrete, alternative actions and present supporting evidence for your policy choice.
  5. Conclusion: What are the broader implications of your recommendations?


In a rare leap from precocious students to elite professionals comparable only to the meteoric rise of Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jimmy Butler in NBA circles, a cadre of GW’s International Political Economy Students joined the ranks of the world’s most cutting-edge consultancy groups literally overnight. Fueled by their stellar class performance and an insatiable passion for global political economy, a leading global think tank has contracted the services of these fourteen student-led consultancy groups, known as IPES.


Criteria: In this assignment, you’ll be evaluated on your knowledge of fundamental concepts and policy debates about the political economy of globalization, and your ability to think critically by adjudicating between different policy explanations regarding the sustainability of both globalization and populism moving forward.


Task: Given the importance of the upcoming U.S. election for the future of globalization, the global think tank’s advisory council wants to know how your groups assess the economic policy repercussions of the November presidential election, using U.S. economic history as the analytical lens. Your policy groups should review the two parts (pre- and post-election primers for the 1896 election) of the Harvard Business School (HBS) Case Study, and answer the following questions below. You do not have to answer any additional questions from the case study; it’s serving as your main resource. The questions below also reflect the structure of the policy briefing template above.

  1. Background:What was at stake during the presidential election of 1896? What kind of claims did the populists make about the U.S. economy and global trade? With whose policies did voters ultimately side, the Populists or the Republicans? In what ways was the election of 1896 similar or different from the 2020 presidential election? Bottom Line: Based on your understanding of the history of populism and the 1890’s financial crisis, are we witnessing a period of populism currently in the U.S., and if so, how sustainable are current populist trends, and ultimately globalization?
  2. Body:In this section, you should adjudicate your viewpoint about the sustainability of populism in the U.S. today against the alternative perspective, employing historical evidence from the HBS case study, and your own knowledge of current economic and political trends, both in the U.S. and the globe from the classroom this semester. This section should be the crux of your proposal.
  3. Conclusion:What are the implications of your assessment for both the United States, and the future of globalization?



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