Larry Summers: after Brexit, ‘political science’ is an oxymoron

After Brexit, Trump, Sanders and the misforecast British and Canadian general elections, it should be clear that the term political science is an oxymoron. Political events cannot be reliably predicted by pollsters, pundits or punters. All three groups should have humility going forward. In particular no one should be confident about the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

The political challenge in many countries going forward is to develop a “responsible nationalism.” It is clear that there is a hunger on the part of electorates, if not the Davos set within countries, for approaches to policy that privilege local interests and local people over more cosmopolitan concerns. Channeling this hunger constructively rather than destructively is the challenge for the next decade. We now know that neither denying the hunger, nor explaining that it is based on fallacy, is a viable strategy.