Wednesday | 30 June 2021 | 16:00 GMT +8
Democracies around the world are under stress, from external as well external factors. Until the millennium, it was hoped that liberal democracy combined with the market economy would gradually prevail and eventually transform countries. However, the economic and sociopolitical performance of democracy has been challenged by right wing figures. Old democracies have lost prestige also as a result of their own handling of the various global crises (financial crisis, climate change, and identity politics) of recent years. Powerful counter-movements have emerged and with them a new kind of systemic competition for influence and power. Social democracy is challenged by these developments since the core of its foundation is embattled: the working class and its needs. Its future depends largely on the extent to which it can adequately respond to the needs and demands in the areas of democracy and social justice and reinvent itself in the process.
New forms of control have emerged in authoritarian and semi-authoritarian regimes: Political elites have learned to adjust themselves as democratic facades embedded in neoliberalism, therefore acquiring access to global financial markets. But the withdrawal of the state and the privatization of public goods have led to diminishing social inequalities and less social cohesion. Places of public debate, where different income groups and identities reach a sociopolitical consensus in an exchange of arguments, are visibly shrinking into “echo chambers” – itself a threat to real debate. The population's distrust towards state institutions in general as well as declining involvement in political parties and unions are a proof of the same symptom.
In the face of the coronacrisis, however, there is a positive outlook on the "return of the political," at least the revalorization of the state over market mechanisms, enabling renegotiations of numerous areas of coexistence and public policy i