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Democracy in Retreat
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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 democracy in some cases, and whether the decline in global democratization is reversible.
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About the Author

Joshua Kurlantzick is a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a frequent contributor to publications including Time, the New Republic, the American Prospect, and Mother Jones.

Reviews

"Think democracy's the up-and-coming thing in the developing world? This book may shatter more than few illusions of free markets and polities."-Kirkus Reviews Kirkus Reviews "Any member of Congress who refuses to compromise on the budget sequester... should be given this mandatory assignment: Read Democracy in Retreat: The Revolt of the Middle Class and the Worldwide Decline of Representative Government."-Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer -- Trudy Rubin Philadelphia Inquirer A Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2013 Wall Street Journal A Business Week Best Book of 2013 Business Week

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