May 6th, 2014
12:44 PM ET

What I'm reading: The democratic recession

By Fareed Zakaria

"The democratic recession we're witnessing has been particularly visible in big 'swing states'—the non-Western countries with the largest populations and economies. Since the late 1990s, democracy has broken down in Russia, Nigeria, Venezuela, the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Kenya," writes Larry Diamond in The Atlantic.

"The Philippines is the one relative bright spot in the group today, with a democratically elected president, Benigno Aquino, committed to serious governance reforms. Russia has become not just a venal and despotic state, but a neo-imperial menace to its neighbors as well. Nigeria has reverted back to tragic levels of political kleptocracy and fraud, feeding political polarization, ethnic resentment, citizen alienation, and an increasingly virulent Islamic terrorist movement in the north. The grip of 'Bolivarian socialism' has weakened in Venezuela as governance has deteriorated, violence has exploded, and the opposition has unified behind a liberal challenger first to Hugo Chávez and then to his designated successor. But it will be a pyrrhic victory for democrats if the Chavista regime falls and social order collapses alongside it."


"Modern economics too often seems to devolve into statistics and mathematical formulas, which is only one of the reasons the world will miss Gary Becker, who died on Saturday at age 83," writes the Wall Street Journal. "The Nobel laureate always put the study of humanity first and foremost, applying the principles of his discipline to human capital and how it can best be utilized for the common good."


"Sometimes there are good, practical reasons for sticking with the old thinking, or some of it," argues John Cassidy in the New Yorker. "When Gary Becker, Milton Friedman, and other members of the Chicago School reminded other economists that price systems convey valuable information, and that incentives matter, they were imparting important truths. But they took the laissez-faire arguments too far, and many of their followers went even further, denying the very possibility of market failure and pillorying virtually any form of government intervention as counterproductive."


soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. chrissy

    The "Democratic recession???" Really?? This recession started when GWB was in office so how has it been turned into a democratic recession? Not to mention the fact that THIS recession is non discriminating and affects ALL political parties!

    May 6, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
    • rascal262

      Did you actually read the article or was it completely over your head? It was about democracy receding around the world.

      May 13, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
  2. Allan Kinsman

    Every human social system has failed since people first started organizing themselves into city states. When one thinks of this statistic it makes one aware of a truth. Democracys like other forms of government are a great idea and like other forms rely on certain principles to be successful. However like other forms succeptable to loop holes. The engineers of this form were men and women of principle. Their thinking included a continuing of these principles with certain structural separations of power to make it more difficult a corruption of these principles. I believe they never imagined todays result. Where we go from here is simply a matter of standing up to discuss our failures in a public forum to illuminate the problems or ignore them. Which we choose will reflect the outcome.

    May 6, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
  3. Joseph McCarthy

    Is Russia truly less democratic than America? Actually, the answer is no.since it's really the M.I.C. and the powerful war lobby who run things in Washington D.C. these days.

    May 6, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
  4. Joseph McCarthy

    I'm sorry folks. I didn't post the above. Some joker is using my name for his own amusement.
    "Is Russia truly less democratic than America?" Well yes. Of course they are. The Tea Partiers do not believe in American values. Namely voting rights with valid results, freedom of speech, rights to carry arms, freedom of the press, internet freedom, the same president for over eight years, and much much more. How dare that bozo post such mumble jumble to discredit me.
    That clown has got to go. It's as simple as that.

    May 6, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Here goes my imposter again. Just ignore the above, folks.

      May 8, 2014 at 11:22 am |
  5. George Patton

    Joseph, the nerve for that Sarah Palin fan to steal your name and post right-wing propaganda vomit all over these threads is truly appalling.

    May 6, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
  6. Bledsoe

    George, Joseph, thank you both. I appreciate your comments. So sorry that clown at 12:12 p.m. is such a name thief. I wish he was barred so we adults can carry on with serious discussions.

    May 6, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
  7. Bledsoe

    Pardon me, I meant 2:12, not 12:12.
    Thank you.

    May 6, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
  8. chrissy

    Lol Really? Taking another trip...and not leaving the farm again? Its gettin really old this little 3 stooges act ya got goin on ya derpasstroll!

    May 6, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I see that this damn troll is here stealing other peoples' names for his own amusement. However, there are two exceptions. One is Allan Kinsman and the other is Joseph McCarthy(2:12). All the others are apparently made by the same person.

    May 7, 2014 at 10:48 am |
  10. chrissy

    Lol ok faux Joey!

    May 7, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
  11. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    May 7, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Good posting, John. Thank you.

      May 8, 2014 at 11:23 am |

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