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The Big Picture

What Next for Democracy?

The recent Democratsā€™ electoral success has revived debate in the United States about how best to defend democracy and the rule of law against Donald Trump. But in confronting such a broad challenge, Democratic leaders in the US ā€“ and democratic leaders around the world ā€“ will have to set their priorities wisely.

In this Big Picture, Ian Buruma calls on the Democrats to eschew impeachment, and instead establish a coherent message that focuses on America's main problem: plutocracy. Joseph E. Stiglitz shows how bad that problem is, emphasizing how the undue political power of the super-rich has eroded America's democratic institutions. And, as Barry Eichengreen points out, perceptions of a corrupted political process explain the rise of populist parties and leaders elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Kaushik Basu argues that a fundamental "rethink" of twenty-first-century political economy will be necessary to establish a pro-democratic policy agenda. To that end, Dani Rodrik calls for more attention to be paid to local communities and the people who inhabit them, rather than to the abstract consumers that exist only in economic models.  And Shirin Ebadi and Christophe Deloire assess the barriers to access to truthful news and information, without which democracy cannot function.

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