The Crash of ’08

Issue Date January 2010
Volume 21
Issue 1
Page Numbers 45-56
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This article explores the question of the impact of the global financial crisis on the global prospects for democratization, comparing the current crisis with the 1929 crash, the 1989 collapse of the Soviet bloc, and the 1998 Asian crisis. Established western liberal democratic and free market orthodoxies are less likely to be followed uncritically, and the post-2008 financial challenges could bring the autonomous central bank model into question. The biggest impact of the crisis may thus be on the “quality,” rather than the fact, of democracy—and in particular on the legitimacy of established financial institutions and practices. But a proliferation of locally inspired experiments could also enrich the ecology of the global community of democracies.

About the Author

Laurence Whitehead is senior research fellow in politics at Nuffield College, Oxford University. His books include Latin America: A New Interpretation (2006).

View all work by Laurence Whitehead