A commentary well worth reading in full. I've been thinking along these lines for some time--not with regard to the democracy part so much but certainly with regard to the conflation of liberal democracy with free-market capitalism, and thinking, as these commentators are saying, that it is coming to an end.I am not so sure, though, that the linking of democracy with capitalism isn't too easy still, and that would be my critique of the whole article. I think that democracy can--and probably should--exist beyond/without capitalism (capitalism is proving to be vaguely compatible with communism at this moment, go China, who knew?) and expect it to continue to develop. But one thing's sure--we are living in an age of change.But enough from me. Go read this commentary.
Contemporary liberal democracy developed in Western Europe in tandem with industrialization. Indeed, social democrats and the trade union movement played a crucial role in agitating for universal suffrage, initially only for men, removing the earlier requirement of property ownership.But beyond the issue of voting, the economic and social transformations of the Industrial Revolution underpinned the development of the welfare state, which provided social insurance against the vagaries of capitalism and attempted to mitigate the latter’s inequalities.The welfare state’s emergence was also promoted by the communist revolution in Russia and the Great Depression that engulfed the world in the 1930s. With millions out of work, leftist ideologies gained ground — even in that bastion of individualism, the United States.In most Western states, the way out of the Great Depression involved not only countercyclical spending, but a political accommodation between labor and capital, manifested in the political arena of the two-party system — one party for labor and another for capital.Yet a strange thing happened around three decades ago, with serious challenges emerging to the capital and labor accommodation. The arrival of neoliberalism — the ideology that replaced Keynesianism with the idea that society should be organized along competitive market lines — rose up in the 1970s and early ’80s, ostensibly to counter declining rates of profit in key capitalist countries.via Global Financial Crisis Highlights the Threat to Liberal Democracy’s Survival | The Jakarta Globe.