How Stable Are The World’s Democracies? – “Warning Signs Are Flashing Red”
How stable are the world’s democracies? While there is a certain level of complacency among the citizens of most developed countries in the security of their freedom, at least one Harvard historian sees some glaring warning signs. Citing a “freedom index” compiled by Freedom House, Harvard historian Yascha Mounk notes that after rising steadily from the mid-1970s through the early 2000s, the number of countries globally that are considered “free” have been on a steady decline ever since.
Political scientists have a theory called ‘democratic consolidation,’ which holds that once countries develop democratic institutions, a robust civil society and a certain level of wealth, their democracy is secure.
For decades, global events seemed to support that idea. Data from Freedom House, a watchdog organization that measures democracy and freedom around the world, shows that the number of countries classified as ‘free’ rose steadily from the mid-1970s to the early 2000s. Many Latin American countries transitioned from military rule to democracy; after the end of the Cold War, much of Eastern Europe followed suit. And longstanding liberal democracies in North America, Western Europe and Australia seemed more secure than ever.
But since 2005, Freedom House’s index has shown a decline in global freedom each year. Is that a statistical anomaly, a result of a few random events in a relatively short period of time? Or does it indicate a meaningful pattern?
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 30, 2016.