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Democracy in Crisis: Why, Where, How to Respond

Roland Rich
Democracy in Crisis: Why, Where, How to Respond
ISBN: 978-1-62637-671-7
ISBN: 978-1-62637-677-9
2017/231 pages/LC: 2017006835
Points of View
"[This] provocative work is a reminder of just how poor the response has been to addressing the pressure that is being placed on democracy worldwide." —Edward Mortimer, The RUSI Journal

"Roland Rich ... succeeds in bringing something new to the table.... Rich's book makes an important contribution to the growing literature on challenges for democracy in the early twenty-first century." —Aurel Croissant, Democratization

"A well-researched, timely publication on the vulnerabilities of democracy.... Highly recommended."—Choice

"I have rarely, if ever, heard either the problems of democratic politics or the kind of solutions we need to find for them better articulated than in this book."—Gareth Evans, Australian National University

"An incisive and honest analysis of democracy trends around the world, a healthy and constructive critique of the business of democracy and development assistance, and some useful ideas for addressing these daunting deficits."—Theodore Piccone, Brookings Institution

"An extremely eloquent, extraordinarily well written, and impressively informed piece of work. Rich provides a highly readable and accessible run-through of all the main challenges with which democracy is currently beset."—Richard Youngs, Carnegie Europe


Democracy is in crisis. After the hope engendered by the Third Wave, democracies around the world are beleaguered with threats from multiple sources. What are these threats? Where did they come from? And how can the challenges to democratic governance best be overcome?

Grappling with these questions, Roland Rich interprets the danger signs that abound in the United States and Europe, in Asia and the Arab World, in Africa and Latin America, and offers innovative strategies for turning the tide.


Roland Rich is on the faculty of the Department of Political Science at Rutgers University. Previously, he served as executive head of the UN Democracy Fund (2007-2014), director of the Centre for Democratic Institutions at the Australian National University (1998-2005), and in the Australian Foreign Service. His publications include The UN Role in Promoting Democracy and Pacific Asia in Quest of Democracy.


  • Democracy is in Crisis.
  • Democracy Is Squandering Its Soft Power.
  • Transitions to Democracy Are Stalled.
  • Autocrats Are Resurgent.
  • China Is a Formidable Competitor.
  • Jihadism Is Posing a New Challenge.
  • Where Does the Middle Class Stand?
  • The Bottom Three Billion Must Be Recruited.
  • Democratizing Development Assistance.
  • We Need Resilience and Resurgence.
  • Postscript: Has Democracy Been Trumped?