The Forces Driving Democratic Recession

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.

Founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy Larry Diamond wrote a 2015 paper, “Facing up to the Democratic Recession.” Diamond asks, reasonably enough, “Why have freedom and democracy been regressing in many countries? The most important and pervasive answer is, in brief, bad governance.” But this tells us very little. How and why has governance been so bad?