Democracy is in Decline. I know that might sound a bit dramatic. After all, you are reading this on the internet, so you clearly have access to a computer and the internet, and therefore you must live in a democracy, right? Maybe not.
Democracy is an idea that many people take for granted. It is often thought of as something that has existed for hundreds of years and will continue to exist for hundreds more. However, the reality is that democracy is in decline throughout the world, and it is time for citizens to start taking action before it is too late.
Democracy is not taking over the world, as many had hoped. It appears to be declining in many places, and a group of scholars studying the decline argue that it is caused by a complex set of interconnected feedback loops, such as B. growing inequality leading to political polarization.
The world is more complicated than many had hoped.
At the end of the 20th century. At the end of the twentieth century, political theorist Francis Fukuyama declared the end of history. (books.google.ca/books?id=NdFpQwKfX2IC) People thought democracy had triumphed, but now authoritarianism and dictatorship are on the rise.
Human society is a complex web of interrelationships in which a single event has many different consequences depending on various factors. Feedback chains often have effects that extend far beyond the initial event that initiated the chain reaction, such as the butterfly effect that is well known in natural systems.
Using complex systems analysis, researchers at the University of Bristol have discovered five interrelated causes of democratic decline. In their study, published in the European Journal of Physics, they find that many of these mechanisms are interconnected, meaning that their temporal and/or spatial dynamics are not separable, but greatly influence each other. (iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1361-6404/aaeb4d)
Economy, culture, politics, technology and everything else are interrelated and influence each other in often unpredictable ways. As in natural systems, a system can even evolve into a completely different structure by its ability to evolve. First there was feudalism, then mercantilism, and now capitalism.
According to the researchers, the five reasons for the decline of democracy are
1. Interconnected feedback loops.
Complex systems created by humans are similar to natural systems that evolve over time. Rather than always returning to equilibrium, dynamic systems may appear stable for a time, but beneath the surface they are in constant flux.
In nature and society, feedback loops create spiral cycles of action and reaction. In the stock market, for example, panicked investors often sell when other investors sell, causing other investors to panic and sell. But the real world is not limited to the stock market. This small feedback loop in the stock market is linked to political and cultural feedback loops.
Democracies can be dynamically reformed into something new. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the world did not return to the old order, but developed a new feudal order. After the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, the world did not return to the age of dinosaurs, but underwent a dynamic transition to the age of mammals.
2. Growing economic inequality.
According to the researchers, economic inequality seems to be stuck in a feedback loop. If the rich get even richer, they will have the money and power to change economic and political institutions to protect their wealth.
When you have billions and you want to protect them, it’s easy to lobby politicians. But this feedback loop of inequality also fosters polarization and radicalization and contributes to the destabilization of democracy.
3. Political polarisation
Events like the economic crash of 2008 show how far apart the rich and ordinary citizens have grown, and that leads to resentment. This makes it easier for politicians to drive a wedge between opposing camps and foment a resentment that leads to the destruction of the shared faith.
While a certain amount of disagreement and conflict is necessary to maintain the stability of a democracy, it becomes difficult to get anything done when people disagree on even the basic facts. According to the researchers, this encourages people to vote for politicians who break the rules because many people believe that it is better to have a corrupt leader on their side than to see the other side win, meaning that politicians can break the rules without fear of punishment from their supporters.
4. Radicalisation by elites
Economic inequality also encourages the rich to promote radicalization through the media. With more and more money to buy and control what people read, it is easy to control the information people receive. Scholars describe it as an attempt by political elites to reform politics for their own permanent benefit. They often do this by linking questions that don’t necessarily make much sense. By aggregating issues, politicians can secure their power by focusing on what people care about most, even if it’s not what politicians care about.
5. Social media and the loss of social rules.
Finally, the Internet and social media add fuel to the fire of this complex feedback loop. Instead of opening up all people to all information, the internet has helped create little information bubbles. People tend to read what they already believe, and the algorithms of social media reinforce this by showing people only what they want.
If everyone in your Facebook newsfeed thinks killing cats is okay, it’s much easier for you to think killing cats is okay. Even though your little cat-killing Facebook bubble only represents a fraction of the population, you might think that most people find killing cats socially acceptable because that’s all you see in your news feed.
What guarantees the stability of a democracy?
If democracy is so imperfect, what keeps it from collapsing? In a press release, the researchers note that a stabilizing feature of a democratic system is the exchange of views, but this is negated when opportunities for participation and debate are destroyed. (eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-11/ip-csh112318.php)
Democracies tend to work when there is a market of ideas, meaning that everyone has a relatively clear idea of the options available. But when people watch different news channels, read different newspapers and get caught up in the social media bubbles created by the algorithms of the internet, it becomes difficult to understand what’s going on.
Yet democracy is not yet dead, and this is not the first time it has been confronted with great inequality and polarization. The Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The twentieth century was similar, and although it ended with a depression and a war, that depression and war laid the foundation for 60 years of relative stability. Society is dynamic and will change again.
This source has been very much helpful in doing our research. Read more about corruption in democracy essay and let us know what you think