By Jay Ogilvy – Re-Blogged From Stratfor
Liberal democracy is in retreat across the globe. Following decades of expansion since the 1950s, the spread of democracy hit a wall in the new millennium. Freedom House, using carefully crafted metrics, has measured a decline in democracy and freedom worldwide. Definitions are important: Does the fact of elections, even where the outcome is autocratically determined, qualify a country as a democracy? By most measures and definitions, there are now about 25 fewer democratic countries than there were at the turn of the millennium.
Diamond’s Stanford colleague, Francis Fukuyama was once so confident that democracy had definitively defeated its two main rivals, fascism and communism, that he famously stuck his neck out claiming “the end of history.” This year, 2017, Fukuyama stated in an interview with Edward Luce, author of the just published book, The Retreat of Western Liberalism, “Everything I’ve been working on for the past year suddenly feels trivial. The only topic I can think about is the future of liberal democracy.”
Fukuyama fears that the global democratic recession may turn into a global democratic depression.
Globalization, Immigration, Populism and Inequality
The Iraq War and Its Legacy
Democracy, it turns out, is difficult to promote at the end of a gun.
China and the Economic Recession
The Threat of Technological Unemployment
“Europe and America’s populist right wants to turn the clock back to the days when men were men and the West ruled. It is prepared to sacrifice the gains of globalization — and risk conflict with China — to protect jobs that have already vanished. Populists have little to say about automation, though it is a far larger threat to people’s jobs than trade.”
The debate between humanists and post-humanists is profound. It is ultimately about what it is to be a human being. Is there something special about us? If not a soul, then something else? What differentiates us from other animals? Or from our computers?
An Alternate Path?
“However once the heretical scientific insights are translated into everyday technology, routine activities and economic structures, it will become increasingly difficult to sustain this double-game, and we — or our heirs — will probably require a brand-new package of religious beliefs and political institutions.”