April 14, 2021


Does a rebirth of democracy lie ahead? (The Monitor's Editorial Board, 4/12/21, CS Monitor)

In a scenario called "Renaissance of Democracies," NIC analysts foresee that a resurgence of democracies around the world may be led by the U.S. and its like-minded allies. "Open, democratic systems proved better able to foster scientific research and technological innovation, catalyzing an economic boom," the scenario envisions, "improving the quality of life for millions around the globe." 

A crackdown on corruption and increasing transparency helps "restore a sense of civic nationalism." The result: Public discourse improves, creating a "culture of vigorous but civil debate over values, goals, and policies."

And what of China? It's playing a hot hand right now as a rapidly growing economic superpower. It promotes a vision that says democracy isn't needed to provide a better life of material comfort for citizens. In many ways it's backing up its claim, so long as a better life doesn't acknowledge the rights of minorities nor the power of free thought and expression, which can be brutally suppressed. 

In this scenario, China's system falters because it stifles innovation. Its crackdowns on Hong Kong and elsewhere lead to ever-tighter limits on free expression. It struggles with an aging population and an "inefficient state-directed economic model" that blocks "the country's transition to a consumer economy." 

China's failure to allow freedom of thought and innovation works against its own success.

Posted by at April 14, 2021 8:08 AM


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