The era of democratic deadlock
From Flux Trends’ 6 Trends for 2020 Trend Release.
Writing in the Financial Times, Gideon Rachman tracked the impasse that many countries have reached: “Deadlock is caused by the fracturing of two-party systems, the polarisation of politics, with the re-emergence of the far-right and the far-left making compromise harder to achieve”. This is becoming evident in countries like Spain, Germany, Israel, the UK and the US. Even South Africa’s three main political parties have divisive factions.
And while politicians engage in a political tug of war, civil protests are on the rise.
At the close of 2019, the number of global hotspots where civil protests have erupted was growing at an alarming rate. Almost all the protests were triggered by something small (like the 20-cent tax for using WhatsApp in Lebanon), but the common thread was economic inequality and non-delivery of services.
Inequality and populist politics can translate into national industry protectionism, which in turn, could lead to de-globalisation, altering geo-political dynamics.
The middle ground? Economists and analysts are already talking about a move towards regionalisation, where the world splits into separate spheres of influence – e.g. a US-led bloc and a China-led bloc.
By: Dion Chang
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Image credit: Brian Wertheim