Posts Tagged ‘Home Page Highlight’

Democracy Works: Alternative Voices from the South

Ann Bernstein

In 2014, the United Nations acknowledged that “study after study show declining faith among young people…with declining levels of participation” in democracy.  Compounding this declining faith in democracy is a rising ideological competitor in the form of economically successful authoritarian regimes.

As much as young people are recognized as dreamers and agents of change, these characterizations tend to be the result of youth wanting to see an improvement in their quality of life.  In emerging countries such improvements are often delivered through economic growth, and in cases such as China and Singapore youth populations can honestly say their standard of living has gotten better year after year.  These examples can lead youth to become disillusioned with democracy.

Quality of life, however, is not measurable only in terms of indicators such as income levels, consumption, and GDP — though almost all of the world’s most prosperous countries are democracies.  Other, arguably more important aspects such as human rights, liberty, and freedom are also vital components.

Is Democracy for Everyone?

Larry Diamond

The number of democratic states around the world has been steadily climbing over the last few decades, including countries that were previously deemed unlikely candidates for achieving democratic transitions: former communist states in Eastern Europe, Muslim-majority countries such as Indonesia, or poor African countries like Mali. In recent years, this optimistic trend has seen some serious reversals: Russia, Venezuela, and Nigeria to name a few. In the past, the key question of democratic development was whether the whole world could one day be democratic. Today we know that, in principle, the answer is yes. But a more consequential question arises: How can countries that became democracies stay democratic?


Transcript available in English, Arabic, French, Russian, and Spanish