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The Emergence of Democracy: Forces and Counter-forces


Capitalism and democracy have transformed the world, but not in a harmonious way. This article provides a broad overview of the major driving forces of democracy, its relationship with ongoing socioeconomic developments and some of the countervailing factors. It points to the inherently conflictive nature of democratic procedures and decision-making, but also emphasizes the potentially universal implications of basic democratic values. Against this background, the future prospects of democracy and possible alternatives in the age of globalization are assessed. All this is based, as far as space permits, on the huge body of available theoretical and empirical literature, but also on the author’s long-term preoccupation with this topic and some of his personal views and experiences.

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Dirk Berg-Schlosser is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of Marburg. Contact email:

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Government and Opposition
  • ISSN: 0017-257X
  • EISSN: 1477-7053
  • URL: /core/journals/government-and-opposition
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