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Issue Brief No. 5 Liberal Democracy: Up to the challenge of the 21st century?

5 April 2011

With climate change, economic downturn, the rise of new economic giants like China and India, and the transfer of global power to the East, the West faces a set of interrelated challenges. Yet, in the face of these challenges, the West is failing to respond properly. In the same vein, Western countries have been unable so far to devise a structural solution to the issue of an ageing society, which will soon render the welfare state unaffordable.

There is no strategic vision for how to take on these challenges and maintain the West’s prosperity and prominent position in the world. Strategic policy making in the West is hamstrung by governmental instability, increasing polarization caused by populist parties, and diminishing credibility in international politics. A different type of political leadership is needed to find a way out of this strategic impasse.

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Experts on this report

Director of the Strategic Futures Program

Erik Frinking

Erik Frinking is the Director of the Strategic Futures Program at HCSS. He holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from Leiden University.

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Strategic Analyst

Marjolein de Ridder

Marjolein de Ridder is a strategic analyst at HCSS. She holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Leuven and a Master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from Leiden University and the Clingendael Institute.


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