Serious Adversity

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Hailing democracy in solemn songs of praise from a smug cushion of affluence is ever so easy. But the fact is that, so far, there has never been a democracy that has survived an extended period of crisis and hunger. So the first question is: Can a democracy survive without economic progress?

Through their years of democracy, western countries have generally seen an increase in wealth and the Western World has fetched natural resources from all over the world without paying the full price for them. Western economies have relied on slavery, military power and political bullying without spreading education, labour unions or enlightenment to the rest of the world to any notable degree.

In the 1930s, the western World suffered a grave economic crisis that threatened democracy. In Germany, that crisis led to Hitler's rise to power and in Italy, Mussolini took over.

In the United States in 1933, Roosevelt was forced to enact the "New Deal", which in turn triggered off a large number of public construction projects that created jobs and wealth.

So the further questions are:

• what is going to happen to democracy in the Western World if the Western economy and standard of living have to adapt to those of the rest of the world?

• what is going to happen when the oil runs out, or climate change or other major crises pull the rug from under the world economy?

• what will happen if an undemocratic regime such as the one in China gets to dominate economically?

Next chapter: Monarchy and Autonomous or Alternative Communities