Democracy and Trust

in Theoria
Author: Claus Offe
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It is hard to predict how future historians will characterise our era. Perhaps the end of the Cold War will be mentioned, although negative labels (such as also those of ‘post-modernism’ or ‘post-industrial society’) are not very conducive to understanding. ‘Globalisation’ might also be considered something typical for our epoch – even if it is mysterious how this term, which is so overloaded with diverse meanings, could ever capture the minds of the contemporaries so thoroughly. A more plausible characterisation of the changes in the status of global society which took place in the fourth quarter of the twentieth century appears to be the reference to the triumphant transition to liberal democracy. This regime form has become the ‘normal’ form of government. In 1974, scarcely 30 per cent of the existing states could qualify as democracies; today these comprise more than 60 per cent.

Theoria

A Journal of Social and Political Theory

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