Liberal democracy, for so long seen as the natural political order, is under severe pressure. Around the world, there are countries where it is flailing or in outright retreat: look no further than Viktor Orbán’s Hungary, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Turkey or US Republicans’ ongoing refusal to concede that Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election.
What went wrong? One argument is that democracy has simply not delivered adequate living standards for enough people. The hope of high and sustained economic growth and falling inequality has not been realised. The Pew Research Center has found that the strongest predictor of dissatisfaction with democracy is unhappiness about the current state of the economy, while pessimism about economic opportunity, in particular, is strongly correlated. The financial crisis of 2008 undermined confidence in the market economy, so closely associated with liberal democracy.
Democracy depends on trust: people have to trust their…
Register today to continue reading
You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.
You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.
Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.
Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.