WORLD - Dissatisfaction with Democracy at Record High

Arno Froese

The world is unhappier with democracy than ever, new research has claimed.

In a report, researchers from Cambridge University analyzed the political sentiment of more than 4 million people, using data from survey projects that covered 154 countries between 1995 and 2020.

The proportion of people who said they were dissatisfied with democracy over the last year hit 57.5%, according to the report, with researchers saying 2019 marked “the highest level of democratic discontent” on record.

Following the financial crisis in 2008, for example, global dissatisfaction with the functioning of democracy jumped by around 6.5%.

Many large democracies, including the U.S., Australia, U.K. and Brazil, were now at their highest-ever level of dissatisfaction with democracy.

However, researchers noted that they had found an “island of contentment” in Europe, where satisfaction with democracy had reached all-time highs. Denmark, Switzerland and Norway were among the countries that fell into that category.

Southeast Asia was also described as a regional “bright spot.”

Cambridge University’s study follows a report published by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which found that the U.S. had a “flawed democracy” and the strength of global democracy was at its lowest since 2006.

Meanwhile, research from Edelman last week found that 70% of people around the world believed democracy was “losing its effectiveness as a form of government.”, 28 January 2020

Arno's commentary

We are reminded of the words Britain’s former Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said: “Democracy is the worst form of government, but it’s the best we have.” Interestingly, Europe is considered an “island of contentment,” and Southeast Asia a “bright spot.” 

What is the reason for the dissatisfaction with democracy? One probably is the lack of choices. Take Israel, for example: with a population of a little over 8 million, it has 17 political parties in its parliament, the Knesset, plus another 35 parties that did not garner enough votes to be part of the government. Switzerland, with a similar population, is considered to be the richest, freest, and most secure country in the world. The political system is supported by 17 different parties, and another couple dozen minor parties. According to the CIA Factbook, this country was founded in 1291, and in modern times has refused to participate in any alliances or military conflicts, but did join the UN in 2002. The nation is governed by a president and a vice president, but “the Federal Council, which is comprised of 7 federal councillors, constitutes the federal government of Switzerland; council members rotate the 1-year term of federal president (chief of state and head of government).” Per capita GDP stands at $62,100 (2017). Life expectancy is 82.8 years. As with all successful nations, exports stand at $313.5 billion, with imports of $264.5 billion. This clearly shows the other side of functioning democracies. It lies in the acceptance of plurality. The more opinions, the better. Switzerland’s official language? Actually 4: German, French, Italian, Romansh. 

What is the future of democracy? Here, the answer is rather simple: with any nation on planet earth, regardless of what type government in charge, in the end, what is written will be fulfilled: “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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