Democratic liberalism v. authoritarianism — the ideological divide that defined the twentieth century. But when the cold war ended, “the end of history”; was proclaimed. Soon the fire of freedom would burn worldwide, the experts said. And where markets were freed, human rights would inevitably follow.
Or not. In the last twenty years, nations including India, Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates have disproved the idea that capitalism and democracy are inextricably linked. Emerging middle classes have proven themselves all too willing to sacrifice certain democratic rights — including free speech, an open media, and free elections — in exchange for prosperity. But they are not alone. We are all doing it. Alarmingly, Western democracy has adopted some of the attributes of that authoritarianism.
Combining boots on the ground reporting with incisive analysis, award-winning journalist John Kampfner describes this alarming trend — one which has only been exacerbated by the global economic meltdown — and what citizens must do to counter it.
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