Contradicting the oft-cited “deconsolidation thesis”—the notion of a worldwide decline in democratic support, especially among the young—we demonstrate that there is no global erosion of support for democracy, neither over time nor across generations. The global democratic-support trend is basically flat, with cyclical fluctuations to a very high and stable base level. More important, however, is a global generational shift from authoritarian values toward emancipative ones. Emancipative values tie democratic support increasingly tightly to liberal principles. Emancipative-values holders are more likely to are more likely to resist attempts by autocrats or populists to deny or limit democratic freedoms. Slowly but steadily, this cultural undercurrent is shifting legitimacy from autocracy to democracy in most world regions. Democracy’s future is bright.
Exchange: Why the Future Is (Still) Democratic
Issue Date January 2022
Page Numbers 156–62