Summary of Democracy in crisis

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The world has entered a period of “democratic recession.” Rising economic inequality, globalization, and the expansion of state power have led to a breakdown in across-the-isle discourse, and an increase in personality-driven politics. Whether these trends are temporary, or mark the unraveling of the liberal democratic order, is an open question. Leveraging examples drawn from both his native India and the United States, Barun S. Mitra, director of the New Delhi-based Liberty Institute, presents a case for cautious optimism about the long-term future of liberal democracy, even while predicting that political upheavals will intensify in the near term.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why illiberalism is on the rise, and
  • Why the trend toward illiberal democracy may be short-lived.

About the Author

Barun S. Mitra is the director of the public policy think tank Liberty Institute in New Delhi, India. 



Liberal democracy is in decline around the world. Within the past decade, 105 nations have seen a lessening of civil and of political liberty, while just 61 have experienced an increase. Meanwhile, surveys reveal a widespread loss of faith in the liberal democratic order and plummeting trust in politicians. Today, both the United States – the world’s oldest democracy – and India – the world’s largest democracy – are experiencing similar and mutually reinforcing trends in their day-to-day politics: increasing political polarization and a rise in personality-driven...

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