Rich and poor Peter Parks/Getty Images

Confronting the Global Threat to Democracy

Governments have allowed globalization to outpace them, and have permitted a small group of very wealthy individuals to flout the rule of law. If nothing is done to improve global governance, democracy itself could come under threat.

OXFORD – Across the world, populists are attracting votes with their promises to protect ordinary people from the harsh realities of globalization. The democratic establishment, they assert, cannot be trusted to fulfill this purpose, as it is too busy protecting the wealthy – a habit that globalization has only intensified.

For decades, globalization promised to bring benefits to all. On an international scale, it facilitated the rise of the Asian tigers and the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), produced rapid growth across Africa, and facilitated the boom in developed countries through 2007. It also created new opportunities and augmented growth within countries. But since the 2008 crash, many rich countries have been locked into austerity; the Asian economies have been slowing; the BRICS’ progress has been stalling; and many African countries have fallen back into debt.

All of this has contributed to rising inequality, which is now fueling discontent. Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman calculate that in the United States, the wealth gap is already wider than at any time since the Great Depression, with the richest 1% of households now holding almost half the country’s wealth.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/zmw7aKM;
  1. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

    Angela Merkel’s Endgame?

    The collapse of coalition negotiations has left German Chancellor Angela Merkel facing a stark choice between forming a minority government or calling for a new election. But would a minority government necessarily be as bad as Germans have traditionally thought?

  2. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.

  3. A GrabBike rider uses his mobile phone Bay Ismoyo/Getty Images

    The Platform Economy

    While developed countries in Europe, North America, and Asia are rapidly aging, emerging economies are predominantly youthful. Nigerian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese young people will shape global work trends at an increasingly rapid pace, bringing to bear their experience in dynamic informal markets on a tech-enabled gig economy.

  4. Trump Mario Tama/Getty Images

    Profiles in Discouragement

    One day, the United States will turn the page on Donald Trump. But, as Americans prepare to observe their Thanksgiving holiday, they should reflect that their country's culture and global standing will never recover fully from the wounds that his presidency is inflicting on them.

  5. Mugabe kisses Grace JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

    How Women Shape Coups

    In Zimbabwe, as in all coups, much behind-the-scenes plotting continues to take place in the aftermath of the military's overthrow of President Robert Mugabe. But who the eventual winners and losers are may depend, among other things, on the gender of the plotters.

  6. Oil barrels Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty Images

    The Abnormality of Oil

    At the 2017 Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, the consensus among industry executives was that oil prices will still be around $60 per barrel in November 2018. But there is evidence to suggest that the uptick in global growth and developments in Saudi Arabia will push the price as high as $80 in the meantime.

  7. Israeli soldier Menahem Kahana/Getty Images

    The Saudi Prince’s Dangerous War Games

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is working hard to consolidate power and establish his country as the Middle East’s only hegemon. But his efforts – which include an attempt to trigger a war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon – increasingly look like the work of an immature gambler.