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Populists as Snake Oil Sellers

Thursday, November 24, 2016 9:45
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Chris Dillow:

Populists as Snake Oil Sellers: Simon wonders why disenchantment with globalization has caused people to turn to what he calls snake oil salesmen. That phrase is apt, because snake oil salesmen thrived for decades. And some of the reasons they did so might be relevant today.

My source here is a wonderful paper (pdf) by Werner Troesken which describes the massive growth in patent medicines in 19th century America. This suggests to me four points of similarity between snake oil salesmen and populist politicians….

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