Los Angeles Times

Commentary: A century of surviving crises left democracy overconfident and vulnerable

We could be in the midst of the beginning of the end of democracy as we know it. Or we could just be in another of those eek-yikes crises that democracy has always managed to triumph over in the last reel. So far. David Runciman is a professor at Cambridge University; his book "The Confidence Trap, a History of Democracy in Crisis from World War I to the Present" predates the 2016 Brexit vote and Trump election but presupposes the challenges to the strength of democracy that both of those pose. Unlike the crises of the past century - the end of World War I, the Depression, the Cold War and others - democracy's present stresses are created by democracy itself. And the outcome this time might be very different.


Q: What got you writing about the fragility and overconfidence of democracies?

A: It came out of the financial crisis of 2007-2008. What started me thinking about it was we'd been through the first decade of this century where there'd been terrible events like 9/11, but democracy was in pretty good shape.

And yet we spent most of that time thinking it was going wrong. When something really bad happened, are we equipped? And the decade since the financial crisis, I think, has just made that problem more acute.

The big problem in a democracy is we never know how bad it is. We've just got no measure for judging how much trouble we're in.

Q: Isn't that the

Vous lisez un aperçu, inscrivez-vous pour en lire plus.

Plus de Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times4 min de lectureAmerican Government
Analysis: Harris Headed Back To Senate, Whether She Likes It Or Not
Kamala Harris was never a creature of the Senate. Its marbled passageways weren't a destination, but a springboard. Harris saw the office of California governor as a preferable perch and, when the choice presented itself in 2015, had to be persuaded
Los Angeles Times3 min de lecture
Lakers Manage To Show Some Of Their Championship Mettle In 115-113 Loss To Warriors
LOS ANGELES — Steve Kerr recognizes this. The Warriors coach saw it in Chicago, where he stepped into huge jump shots alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and again in San Antonio when Tim Duncan and David Robinson patrolled the frontcourt for
Los Angeles Times4 min de lectureMedical
California Hurtles Toward 3 Million Coronavirus Cases
LOS ANGELES — California is on the precipice of passing 3 million total coronavirus cases — a mind-boggling milestone that will arrive amid both promising signs that the pandemic has plateaued following a monthslong surge, as well as fresh concerns t