Democracy is under siege. Traditional bastions of liberal democracy are faltering. Young democracies are reverting to their authoritarian pasts. Populism, corporatization of the media, fake news, retreat from globalism, oligarchy, corruption and other perils are undermining fairness, effectiveness and truthfulness. Just when it appeared that the world was converging on a universal set of values and standards for governance at the national and international level, fundamental questions are being raised regarding the viability and sustainability of democratic institutions. Recent events raise fundamental questions regarding the institutions of governance and also about the underlying social, psychological, cultural and evolutionary processes that determine how these institutions function.
Is democracy in its current form really the most viable and effective system of governance? Are human beings sufficiently rational and selfless to govern themselves justly and effectively? Is the future of democracy at the national level compatible with the persistence of non-democratic institutions at the international level? By what process has the distribution of social power shifted from army, monarchy, aristocracy to democracy and how is that process likely to evolve further in future? To what extent are the institutional problems confronting democracy today reflections of underlying social, psychological and cultural factors and processes? What proven and potential safeguards and remedies are available toaddress the failures and insufficiencies of contemporary democracies? Is democracy the best possible system or merely a stage in the evolution of governance toward something more stable, an effective and equitable system? These are a few of the questions to be explored during this three-day meeting.
* This programme offer ECTS credits.