Is it the End of Democracy?

Feb 24, 2022

Joel Kotkin argues that the withering of democratic process and institutions reflects the deeper transformation of American and European societies: the emergence of a ruling technocracy; the use of the pandemic and the environmental crisis to constrain individual rights; the new concentration of power in governments, and the growing distance between the governing and the governed.

Joel Kotkin is described by the New York Times as “America’s uber-geographer,” he is an internationally-recognized authority on global, economic, political and social trends. His work over the past decade has focused on inequality and class mobility and how regions can address these pressing issues.

Mr. Kotkin is the Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University in Orange, California and Executive Director of the Houston-based Urban Reform Institute. He is Senior Fellow for Heartland Forward and Executive Editor of the widely read website NewGeography.com. He is a regular contributor to Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, City Journal, Quillette and Real Clear Politics.

His latest book, The Coming of Neo Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class, deals with the declining upward mobility and growing inequality in almost all middle and high-income countries.


“We may remain, as we are now, nominally democratic, but be ruled by a technocratic class empowered by greater powers of surveillance than those enjoyed by even the noisiest of dictatorships.”

Those words were written by Joel Kotkin in a recently published essay on democracy’s demise. Donald Trump is not the villain of the piece, as most pundits want us to believe, nor other populists outside the United States. Rather, Kotkin argues that the withering of democratic process and institutions reflects the deeper transformation of American and European societies: the emergence of a ruling technocracy; the use of the pandemic and the environmental crisis to constrain individual rights; the new concentration of power in governments, and the growing distance between the governing and the governed. All of it made worse by the mind-boggling concentration of economic wealth, which is as much an issue in China as it is in the United States.

Kotkin’s analysis deserves our attention. What do you think—not about Trump, but about democracy? Who can do what to bend the arc away from the dystopian end game that he and others describe?

Joel Kotkin is the Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University in California and Executive Director of the Urban Reform Institute, as well as the author of the Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class.

What do you think? Comment below

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1 Comment

  1. Juan Carlos Wandemberg

    Blockchain Technology Is Our Best Hope For A Truly Participative Democracy.

    Reply

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