Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally—either directly or indirectly through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination. It allows parents to shape their children’s futures. It was the most successful political idea of the 20th century. But its rate of increase of nations adopting democracy is beginning to slow down dramatically, and may even be headed in the opposite direction.
What could have caused this?
The crash of the world economy in 2007-08 is the main reason. It exposed the West’s weaknesses, such as debt-led economy growth. The governments in the West ran themselves into debt for short-term success, and neglected long-term investments. Confidence in Western countries has fallen significantly, with people starting to turn their attention to China.
As a communist nation, China is arguably operating far more efficiently than the US of A. An extension on pension plans took 2 years to pass in China. The same thing could take decades to pass through Congress. China have displayed to the world that you don’t need democracy and freedom to achieve sustainable, high-economic growth.
Corruption in governments is another reason. I mean, you only have to be clever with your speeches and debates to win an election, even though your intentions are ‘pure evil’. How many times have people said they ‘do not believe in governments’ and refuse to vote? Conspiracy theorists (and possibly enemies of the US) argue that democracy is America’s way of establishing its imperialism over the world.
What can be done to fix it?
The essay (yes, essay) from The Economist goes into these reasons in a lot more detail, and presents more reasons to why democracy has gone wrong. It presents possible solutions to bring back democracy. It’s long (about 6 pages in the print edition), but it’s something worthwhile having a go at. Economic concepts are also in here, try and find them 🙂