Is the state of democracy declining around the world? According to many observers, there has been a significant decrease in worldwide democracy in recent decades.
This decline occurs at a time when elected officials are confronted with never-before-seen difficulties, brought on by cost-of-living crises, an impending economic downturn, and climate variability.
Moreover, examining the global development of both democratic societies and authoritarian governments is one method to tackle this issue.
This article shows how the most widely used metrics for measuring democracy support the assertion that global democracy has declined in recent years.
How democracy is declining across nations
Democracy continues to be the most popular and legitimate system of government. Liberal political systems, such as democracies, give their citizens more civil liberties and safeguard them from the state by placing restrictions on them.
However, there are indeed more democratic freedoms available to people worldwide than there were previously. But several signs seem to indicate that this advancement is now in jeopardy.
A Washington, D.C.-based organization called Freedom House published a report in 2021 that found more nations witnessed decreases in their democracy than advancements.
Though it has been a long time coming, democracy is now further away from a global victory.
For the first time since 2004, more authoritarian than democratic governments were recognized by the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI). Only 67 of the 137 developing and transitional nations analyzed remain to be deemed democracies. Currently, 70 authoritarian regimes now exist in the world.
This is because there are fewer free and fair elections and fewer opportunities for assembly and expression. Moreover, the separation of powers is eroding more frequently throughout the world. Democratic freedoms have been curtailed over the previous 16 years. Thus resulting in a 25.7% decrease in the population of societies that are regarded as free. The world’s population is thought to be governed by an autocracy in about 70% of cases today.
Restricted democratic rights
The fallacious claim that democracy is failing because it cannot meet the wants of its constituents has been propagated by those who oppose freedom. In truth, democracy is deteriorating because its most notable exponents aren’t doing enough to defend it.
The epidemic caused more stress on democratic rights globally than any other factor for the second year in succession. Civil freedoms were once more suspended through lockdowns and travel restrictions in an autocratic rule as well as transparent democratic governments.
Despite the numerous setbacks for liberty that were noted by Freedom in the World in 2020, people all across the world remained dedicated to defending their rights. And democracy continued to show its extraordinary resiliency.
Democracy declining, the effect of the pandemic
In several nations, the coronavirus epidemic has also resulted in new limitations on human rights and freedoms.
The epidemic revealed flaws in every tenet of democracy. From fair elections and the rule of law to egregiously unequal limitations on the right to free association and mobility.
In the end, the pandemic-induced changes left numerous nations’ various sorts of regimes. As well as wealth levels, and demographics, in worse political conditions. With more prominent prejudice, ethnic, and gender imbalances, and prone to long-term impacts.
A significant economic catastrophe is being brought on by the public health problem, as economies all over the world enter recession and millions of people lose their jobs.
The protections for fundamental rights are typically lower in nations with bigger financial differences, which raises the possibility that the economic consequences of the epidemic could have detrimental effects on democracy.
Is democracy really declining?
Clearly, there’s a lot at stake for democracy. But we need not despair—this is not the first time that democracy has suffered setbacks.
In fact, it is in times of crisis that we are reminded of the great value and strength of democratic institutions. The resilience of our political systems, the ability to correct mistakes and make better choices for a brighter future. If we can learn from past crises, then I believe that things will look up again soon enough.