Government & Law

Excepts from an article – “The Uncertain Future of Democracy”

November 20, 2017

– on BBC.com – A must read!

“In fact, the decline of democracy has been measured. Every year since 2006, Hoey and her colleagues at the EIU have produced a report called the Democracy Index, which provides a comprehensive ranking of nearly every country in the world on a 10-point scale. It combines regional data and multiple surveys conducted in 167 countries to measure the quality of political processes, civil liberties, the functioning of government, public participation and political culture. Each country is then classed as a full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regime or authoritarian regime.

The results of last year’s report are sobering. Overall, the global average score fell with 72 countries dropping in the ranking compared to 2015, and just 38 moving up. The number of “full democracies” dropped from 20 to 19, with the US now classed as “flawed”. According to the EIU’s measure, around half the world’s population (49.3%) live in a democracy of some kind. But only 4.5% of people live in a “full democracy” – half as many as in 2015.”

“The level of public trust in democratic institutions in the US has been plummeting for decades. According to a survey carried out in 2015 by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan organisation in Washington DC that investigates demographic trends, only 19% of people trust the government to do the right thing “always or most of the time”. In 1958, when the American National Election Study asked the same question, 73% of people did.”

“Some may argue that this is because governments no longer feel like they are “of the people, by the people, for the people”, as Abraham Lincoln put it in his Gettysburg Address. Over the last half century, the business of governing has arguably become more technocratic, with positions of power populated by larger numbers of professional politicians and policy wonks. Many long-established political parties once had closer ties with specific groups of people. Left-wing or social democratic parties in particular were set up to represent the will of the working class. Those ties have stretched to breaking point, however.”

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