Politics Weekly podcast: David Runciman on democracy in crisis
Economic crisis has exposed the limits of western democracy in several countries since 2008. Cambridge political scientist David Runciman says the survival of liberal democracy is far from inevitable. He joins Anne Perkins to discuss the ideas in his new book The Confidence Trap.
Western democracy has not been in good health since the economic crash of 2008. In the eurozone, elected politicians have struggled to force through austerity budgets demanded by the officials offering bailouts. Incumbents from across the political spectrum have been booted out of office, while others rise to power only to confront the same short-term problems of attempting to a balance the books without ruining their own hopes for re-election.
Meanwhile, in states such as China that continue to eschew democracy, there is continuing economic growth and growing global power.
It all adds up to a cause for great concern, according to the political scientist David Runciman. His new book is The Confidence Trap: A History of Democracy in Crisis from World War I to the Present - a critique of the complacency of many in the west and the assumption that democracy is inevitable.
And it's not just economic factors that threaten democracy. For Runciman, The Guardian's revelations of massive state surveillanceshow another drawback of complacency by electorates - allowing security apparatus to grow without sufficient oversight.
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