The world in 2050 is made up of democratic states only. By 2011, more than 110 UN member states had some form of elected government and the trend would continue. In 2050, China and Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Libya all have democratic governance.
However, this does not imply that the long march towards democracy has ended. On the contrary, it is very likely that this is just the beginning. Differences among political regimes, democratic practices and rules have acquired greater importance. People compare political systems, and by 2050, each of them is doing its best to further improve democratic practice. It looks set to improve not just in China, but in the most sophisticated democracies such as Sweden or Canada. This will require more critical analysis: how do democratic systems actually operate? what are their strengths and weaknesses? what is needed to make them more democratic?
There is another major challenge for democratic theory and practice: the boundaries of democracy now change continuously. International organizations have survived only by introducing substantial forms of democratic accountability, control and participation. Boundaries within states have also been revisited. Since migrants have continued to grow in most countries, inevitably they have claimed additional rights in the hosting states. Where they contribute to the well-being of hosting states and pay taxes, they have revived the old slogan, “no taxation without representation”.