It’s no surprise that democracy is in a deep crisis, a glance at the democracy index by the Economist’s Intelligence Unit shows it clearly. According to it, only 4.5% of the world’s population lives nowadays in a “full democracy”. It was 9% only few years ago.
This is even more evident in the very countries we always regarded as examples and bulwarks of democracy – Britain, France, US – the cradles of parliamentarism and of the rule of law.
I don’t say that these countries are not democratic anymore, I just worry about the amazing rise of populism and nationalism there, which are testing the democratic institutions as never before.
We can give so many different explanations for that: sociological, psicological, cultural… the liquid society and the solipsism and egotism of the modern human, the globalisation and rise of technology, the circulation of capitals and the social dumping, but I think that all this is just the background picture.
The real problem is in the dimension of the issues we face nowadays: migration waves, financial crises, global warming, terrorism…
Not one of these problems can be faced by a country alone, hardly by a group of countries acting together, even the European Union is struggling.
Citizens feel insecure, unsupported, and they expect answers from their political leaders, and from their governments. After all, this was the reason why the modern state was created in the first place: to offer security. Unfortunately, no state can offer this, not anymore.
Only populist politicians still offer promises and guarantees, do they know how illusory these are? Do their electors know?
And the easiest promise of all is the nationalist one: shutting the world out of the door, raising walls, guarding borders, stopping people. Our country first… and only.
I understand the fear which originates these reactions and I am not here to add judgment and blame on the already excessive amount of judgment and blame we see around. I just don’t think this will work… if not to buy some time before the same problems knock to our doors again and again.
The solutions to these problems are difficult to imagine and hard to communicate. Nonetheless they do exist.
Just have a look at the agenda for Sustainable Development Goals and at the countless initiatives started by private citizens to improve the state of the world, such as Geoversive, SimPol, the Good Country, ICR, CCEN, Global Citizen, Business Fights Poverty, and my list could go on and on…. Other solutions are possible and – even if we don’t see them on TV shows or in the news- other people are already thinking of them.
The decline of democracy can be stopped in two ways: one is in the hands of governments and it is the cooperation for the common good, the other is in our hands as citizens and it is in owning the awareness that we are global citizens and claiming for solutions at national and at global level.
Only stepping into our power, supporting and joining the initiatives and the causes aimed at solving our common problems we can still feel proud citizens of our state and and of this world.