Democracy in uncertain times: Inequality and democratic development in the global North and global South

Ziya Öniş

Abstract


Liberal democracy is under challenge on a global scale. The global financial crisis has accelerated and aggravated the crisis of liberal democracy in the global North. The paper examines the prospects for liberal democracy in the global South and argues that the prospects are mixed. The rise of China and the durability of its highly successful model of authoritarian capitalism, in spite of a certain loss of momentum in the current era, poses a central challenge in a rapidly shifting global order where democratic capitalism in the North no longer generates the same level of enthusiasm as in the past. The paper examines alternative and competing models of capitalism and democracy in the global South and evaluates the credentials of democratic BRICS and near-BRICS as serious pro-democracy actors. Whilst the trend is towards less social inclusion in the North and greater social inclusion in the South, persistently high rates of inequality pose severe problems for the future of liberal and social democracy both in the global North and the global South.


Keywords


Globalization, democracy, inequality, BRICS, emerging powers, middle powers

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