We have seen three "waves" of democratic transition in history and some say the Arab Spring signals the beginnings of a fourth. But with the "democratic recession"– a general erosion of freedom around the world since about 2000– that claim seems too optimistic. One look at the situation in the US where the rich now rake in all the goodies, gives pause to the idea that we can hang onto that lofty system here. So how can we inspire developing countries to democratize? That appears unlikely. They are much more impressed by the model of state capitalism offered by China, which is pulling people out of poverty, not plunging them deeper in like the US is.
Although I will never stop working for the ideal of democracy and resisting the empty vision of becoming rich, I have to admit that any system that reduces poverty is not only better than the alternative, but will always sell more tickets. So now what will we do with what remains of American good will? Maybe we need to shout less about freedom and more about improving the quality of life.