Politics in Minutes (2016)

The future

Human history can be told in terms of political change – often slow and gradual, but sometimes sudden and revolutionary. Recent rapid improvements in communications and transportation have facilitated globalization, and some form of liberal democracy is now the norm in almost every country in the world. While the spread of free-market ideology has undoubtedly brought increased prosperity, the gap between rich and poor has widened – both within countries, as well as between the developed and the developing worlds. This upward distribution of wealth, bolstered by government bailouts and harsh austerity measures, has contributed to a feeling of ‘them and us’. As disillusionment with the prevaling ideology and conventional politics grows, politicians are perceived as being out of touch and acting in the interests of a rich and powerful minority. Popular movements, such as the Occupy movement with its slogan ‘we are the 99%’, have emerged with an anti-capitalist and anti-globalization agenda, and some economists have proposed alternatives to the neoliberal orthodoxy.