Current Decline of Global Democracy

The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.

– Antonio Gramsci

The world needs champions against the Darkness, and those champions have to be large and powerful states. Japan, Germany, and some other countries are doing their part, but they’re just too small. America and India are going to have to step up. That means restoring both economic power and moral leadership. Biden is trying to do both, but he’ll fighting an uphill battle.

Restoring economic leadership will be hard when America is on the other side of the globe from the emerging economic center of the world. Our best bet is to continue to dominate in cutting-edge knowledge industries. That means dishing out a lot of money for scientific research, as Chuck Schumer and others are now proposing. It also means continuing to take in large numbers of skilled immigrants, so that America dominates the global pool for top technical talent. It means maintaining and building infrastructure. And it means attacking the problem of ruinous costs in the health and construction sectors, which have reached the point where they’re dragging the whole nation down. The successful vaccination effort offers encouragement that the U.S. is more economically robust than many had believed, but at best it’s just a good start.

Economic leadership also requires creating dense networks of trade and production between the U.S. and all the countries we want to make into our allies, like we did during the Cold War. This will require doing deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The ideas of classic American philosophers like John Dewey and modern ones like Elizabeth Anderson can help. Here’s a quote from Dewey from 1939:

The serious threat to our democracy is not the existence of foreign totalitarian states. It is the existence within our own personal attitudes and within our own institutions of conditions similar to those which have given a victory to external authority, discipline, uniformity and dependence upon the Leader in foreign countries. The battlefield is accordingly here -within ourselves and our institutions…[it] can be won only by extending the application of democratic methods, methods of consultation, persuasion, negotiation, communication, cooperative intelligence, in the task of making our own politics, industry, education, our culture generally, a servant and an evolving manifestation of democratic ideas.

1 Like