chapter  11
16 Pages


WithRobert Pinkney

Democracy until the mid-twentieth century was both a relatively homogeneous commodity and a product of indigenous forces. In many countries democracy was in eclipse between the 1960s and 1980s, with political systems unable to cope with the strains of poverty, ethnic conflict, avaricious elites and power hungry soldiers. Until the 1990s constitutional reform would probably have been near the top of any agenda for reviving democracy in Britain through greater participation. Democratic success or failure in any one country is now much more dependent on events in others, and on the global and international stages. Whereas in the old democracies, the democratic process is threatened by the inter-related forces of globalisation, consumerism and post-industrialisation, in the new democracies the threats come from globalisation, poverty and pre-industrialisation. The liberal element in liberal democracy requires more institutions, such as the European Union (EU) Commission or independent central banks, which are able to apply their expertise and escape the search for short-term popularity.