Are democracies stable ? ‘Warning signs are flashing red’


journal-of-democracy-october-2016Is the populist backlash just a new kind of politics, or a symptom of something deeper?

To answer that question, Harvard’s Yascha Mounk and the University of Melbourne’s Roberto Stefan Foa, developed a three-factor formula – an early-warning system. Their conclusion, to be published in the January issue of the Journal of Democracy [a publication of the National Endowment for Democracy], is that democracies are not as secure as people may think, The New York Times reports:

The first factor was public support: How important do citizens think it is for their country to remain democratic? The second was public openness to nondemocratic forms of government, such as military rule. And the third factor was whether “antisystem parties and movements” — political parties and other major players whose core message is that the current system is illegitimate — were gaining support.

If support for democracy was falling while the other two measures were rising, the researchers marked that country “deconsolidating,” The Times adds. And they found that deconsolidation was the political equivalent of a low-grade fever that arrives the day before a full-blown case of the flu.


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