Content from the Brookings Institution India Center is now archived. After seven years of an impactful partnership, as of September 11, 2020, Brookings India is now the Centre for Social and Economic Progress, an independent public policy institution based in India.
The policy literature on democracy often overlooks a number of factors that have important implications for democracy’s future. First, it frequently exaggerates the decline of democracy globally, often by conflating reverses in liberalism with reversals in democracy. Second, it continues to imply ownership of democracy by the Western world when in fact over two-thirds of those living under democratic systems today are in non-Western and developing countries. Third, it often fails to recognize important differences between democracies, especially concerning their attitudes toward identity.
There are significant differences in particular between nation-states, immigrant-heavy states, and post-colonial states. At the same time, all democracies today face similar challenges that include four “i’s”: identity, inequality, information, and interference. Working to address these challenges at a global level will require recognizing the diversity of democratic architectures and ensuring greater cooperation with democracies in the developing world, both in protecting democratic institutions at home and in bolstering cooperation in third countries.