Global democracy 2020: Bad news, good news


Former NED board member Francis Fukuyama

The year 2020 brought us mostly bad news regarding the state of global democracy, though there were some preliminary signs that things might yet turn around, notes Francis Fukuyama, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute and Mosbacher Director of its Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.

Over the past decade, we have been facing what democracy expert Larry Diamond calls a “democratic recession,” in which authoritarian governments have flourished and the rule of law has been undermined—a situation that he worries might evolve into a full-scale depression on the scale of the 1930s, he writes for the Wall Street Journal:

The past six years had seen a number of popular mobilizations against dictatorship, in Ukraine, Nicaragua, Algeria, Sudan, Armenia and Belarus. Most of these movements have stalled in the past year, with Covid limiting the ability of pro-democracy forces to mobilize and protest….Global democracy will face continuing challenges as the recession drags on into 2021 and people chafe under pandemic restrictions. People around the world are fearful, insecure and unhappy, and that is not a formula for political stability.

“But we would do well to remember that prior crises at times brought about positive change by exposing the failures of bad leaders and creating demand for reform,” adds the former National Endowment for Democracy (NED) board member. “While democracy has its discontents, there has been continuing popular pushback against abusive and/or corrupt governments world-wide as people vote or take to the streets.”

Also check out the latest in the Bradley lecture series: Episode 32 | November 2020

Political order, electoral chaos (ft. Francis Fukuyama). 




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