Can Global Capitalism and Liberal Democracy Survive?


Oswald Mosley,leader of the British Union of Fascists, being saluted at a fascist parade.
The 1930s saw the rise of authoritarianism as citizens lost faith in liberal democracy.

[CAF Note: Bravo to Martin Wolf!]

by Martin Wolf

The symbiotic relationship is under strain, last seen during rise of fascism in the 1930s

Is the marriage between liberal democracy and global capitalism an enduring one? Political developments across the west – particularly the candidacy of an authoritarian populist for the presidency of the most important democracy – heighten the importance of this question. One cannot take for granted the success of the political and economic systems that guide the western world and have been a force of attraction for much of the rest for four decades. The question then arises: if not these, what?

A natural connection exists between liberal democracy – the combination of universal suffrage with entrenched civil and personal rights – and capitalism, the right to buy and sell goods, services, capital and one’s own labour freely. They share the belief that people should make their own choices as individuals and as citizens. Democracy and capitalism share the assumption that people are entitled to exercise agency. Humans must be viewed as agents, not just as objects of other people’s power.

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