Is America the First Developed Country to Begin Moving Backwards?

Thom plus logo Russian president Vladimir Putin recently suggested that "liberal democracy" is "obsolete." He may be onto something, at least from the point of view of conservatives and neoconservatives in the United States and Europe. Indeed, a liberal democracy has been under attack for sometime. But the question is, was America the first developed country to begin moving backwards?

Conservatives led the deconstruction of the US labor market, at a time when the Labor movement around the rest of the world was doing well or even growing. Reagan and Clinton kicked off an era of massive deregulation that led directly to the crash of 2008. Reagan, Bush, and Trump's massive tax cuts have all thrown America massively into debt and wildly exacerbated the divide between rich and poor in this country, shattering many people's expectation that liberal democracy in America would produce a better life for them.

At the same time, though, America has become more tolerant of racial and gender minorities, and moved toward a more economically equal society in many ways. On the other hand, Trump's demagoguery over his wall and putting children in cages has inflamed white racists, and threatens to undo liberal advances dating all the way back to the Brown v. Board Supreme Court decision.

So the question: was America the first country where liberal democracy began to backslide? How rapidly has this accelerated across the rest of the world? In what direction is this heading? And what, if anything, should we do about it?


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