Paul Lachine

Democracy in Distress

Is democratic time too slow to respond to crises, and too short to plan for the long term? At a time of deepening economic and social crisis in much of the world’s rich democracies, that question is more relevant than ever.

PARIS – Is democratic time too slow to respond to crises, and too short to plan for the long term?

At a time of deepening economic and social crisis in many of the world’s rich democracies, that question is highly relevant. In Italy, for example, Prime Minister Mario Monti has the necessary and legitimate ambition to carry out comprehensive reform. He is both competent and honest, but faces a quasi-structural impediment: whereas leaders once had three years to convince voters of their policies’ benefits, they now have three hours to convince global financial markets to back their approach.

Caught between Italian legislators who, deep down, do not understand that change and markets in quest of near-immediate certainties, can Monti transcend his natural prudence and act with sufficient clarity and decisiveness?

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