Does democracy still matter? In search for answer to this question we took a closer look of its connection to ongoing globalisation and one of the foundation of democracy which are elections. Now we should approach this problem from the other perspective. Therefore, what should interest us now is the following problem – do we still need and want democratic system and does it makes us a difference if we are living in truly democratic Switzerland or autocratic China, while having similar standards of life? We can find places where people live in quasi democracy and still are happy with their life, enjoying a wealthy living with most concerns focused about next holiday destination, new model of their car or brand new Iphone. As consumptionism becomes the most important part of our lives, making us believe that the main goal of human existence is to earn and spend, wondering about doing it in a democratic or authoritarian environment emerge to be irrelevant.
The debate between supporters and opponents of globalisation is an never ending story, and probably will never finish with the one site admitting that the other is right, simply because there are always pros and cones, as different perspectives provide us with different aspirations. Therefore as for ones the emergence and spread of multinational corporations is a blessing, as they provide work in many poor regions, for others is seen as a way of exercising slavery work, because of their money and power resources. Naturally when people have to work for 50 hours a week getting few dollars in return, they do not perceive free market capitalism as the best economic system to live in, and for sure, they lack time and energy to take active role in democratic processes, probably making no difference for them if they would do this job in democracy or under authoritarian regime. And that is the situation in which those in power can easily take advantage and extort personal gains, therefore making the whole globally connected reality very rotten and vulnerable. The past gave us many examples that one of the biggest dangerous for authoritarian regimes are situation in which citizens are lacking jobs and employment. Those regimes were falling always quicker and first. The one who managed to provide a high rate of employment and later on somehow balance between repression and modernism achieved some form of stability and legitimacy. China, Singapore or Dubai clearly show that the right amalgam of power, money and decision, can make people actually live happily in autocratic systems. To be clear, not all of them, there are still big human rights problem in some of them. However today China models as a Beijing Consensus tries to challenge old Washington Consensus of aggressive capitalism and by association necessity of democracy. For some it shows some valid arguments for others it is doing by a huge cost of human rights. What important is, democracy is not as much hegemonic as it was few decades before.
By Kamil Czarnecki