Democracy in Retreat

Democracy in Retreat Cover

Democracy in Retreat

The Revolt of the Middle Class and the Worldwide Decline of Representative Government

By Joshua Kurlantzick

Yale University Press, Hardcover, 9780300175387, 287pp.

Publication Date: March 5, 2013

Since the end of the Cold War, the assumption among most political theorists has been that as nations develop economically, they will also become more democratic especially if a vibrant middle class takes root. This assumption underlies the expansion of the European Union and much of American foreign policy, bolstered by such examples as South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, and even to some extent Russia. Where democratization has failed or retreated, aberrant conditions take the blame: Islamism, authoritarian Chinese influence, or perhaps the rise of local autocrats.But what if the failures of democracy are not exceptions? In this thought-provoking study of democratization, Joshua Kurlantzick proposes that the spate of retreating democracies, one after another over the past two decades, is not just a series of exceptions. Instead, it reflects a new and disturbing trend: democracy in worldwide decline. The author investigates the state of democracy in a variety of countries, why the middle class has turned against democracyin some cases, and whether the decline in global democratization is reversible.

About the Author
Joshua Kurlantzick is special correspondent for the" New Republic" and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has covered Southeast Asia and China as a correspondent for "U.S. News and World Report" and "The Economist," and his writings on Asia have appeared in "Foreign Affairs," the "New York Times Magazine," and many other publications.