Ian Christie

Ian Christie
4 May 2011

In the first decade of the 21st century there were fears that the post-1989 surge of democratisation had ended and could go into reverse. Now, in 2050, forms of open society and democracy hold sway across most of the Earth. Looking back, it is clear that global communications and the rise of the Internet and mobile telephony have played a big part in this change - as expected by many forecasters in 2010. But the transformation that relaunched the globalisation of democracy was completely unexpected: the democratic cultural revolution in China. By 2020 China had surpassed the USA in economic weight, and this fateful moment was accompanied with other forces for change in the new superpower: the explosive growth of the middle classes ; the adoption of English as the second language, aiding Chinese projection of soft power and also opening up society still more to external influence; the impossibility of clamping down on the Internet and mobile communications; the rising demand for sustainable environmental policies and better quality of life; the outrage at corruption. All these forces generated demand for a more open society and democratisation. Finally, there was the rise of the younger factions in the ruling Party who argued for a 'total surpassing' of the USA (increasingly mired in violent culture wars and economic failure) - including outdoing the USA as the torchbearer for democracy. The Second Cultural Revolution (2025-2035) was peaceful - a Chinese 'glasnost' based on the security of being the global economic superpower - and transformative. Cooperation with and emulation of China - including its new democracy - were seen as the keys to success by developing nations worldwide. The transformation is being hailed by some Chinese intellectuals, echoing Fukuyama in 1990, as the 'end of history' ...

National Geographic image of China: soft power and peace and the open hand....

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National Geographic image of China: soft power and peace and the open hand....

Author: Ian Christie

Peter Geoghegan: dark money and dirty politics

Democracy is in crisis and unaccountable flows of money are helping to destroy it. Peter Geoghegan’s new book, ‘Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics’, charts how secretive money, lobbying and data has warped our democracy.

How has dark money bought our politics? What can be done to change the system?

Join us for a journey through a shadowy world of dark money and disinformation stretching from Westminster to Washington, and far beyond.

Sign up to take part in a free live discussion on Thursday 13 August at 5pm UK time/6pm CET

In conversation:

Peter Geoghegan Dark Money Investigations editor at openDemocracy and the author of ‘Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics’.

Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief, openDemocracy.

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