Dr Moisés Naím, distinguished fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, internationally syndicated columnist, best-selling author, and former Venezuelan cabinet minister spoke to CDE executive director Ann Bernstein about the revival of autocracy in the 21st century.
Citing the 2023 Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) report, he states that global democratic governance is in crisis and is down to levels last seen in 1986. More than two thirds of global citizens live in countries where their freedoms and civil liberties are curtailed or do not exist.
Leaders globally are failing to deliver on their promises, people demand more from governments and the performance of governments has declined.
People with power have traditionally used the “three P’s”: populism, polarisation and ‘post-truth’, to contain, side-step and dilute the forces that could weaken their power. These tools have acquired new potency in the 21st century, due to globalisation, new technologies and the explosion of social media.
There is a global trend of organised crime infiltrating and taking over governments. This is taking corruption and state condoned criminality to another level. Combatting this kind of corruption should be a “national purpose” for countries.
A crucial issue in his view is the weakening of political parties which are “in disrepute”, having lost the capacity to attract, retain and develop political talent.