Episode 14 – The age of democratic decline | Stefanos Loukopoulos

The end of the second world war ushered in a new era of change for humanity. Having tested out all of their new, shiny weapons on each other, the nation-states of Europe decided to tone things down for a while and to focus on rebuilding their war-ravaged continent. A key factor for the success of this was, of course, the US. American financial aid was a major helping hand for Europe, especially in the years right after the end of the hostilities of WW2. Along with the US’ money, however, came also their influence. Holding the United States’ hand, Europe entered a period of liberalism, urbanization, opening up of markets, systemic integration (🇪🇺), and increased laissez-faire in its economies and industries – a period often called by 20th-century historians “the Golden Age.”
🏙️ This changed Europe’s demographic, sociopolitical, and cultural characteristics to an incredible degree, and with great speed. A mostly agrarian and industrial collage of societies, Europe was being transformed – to its core – into a land of opportunity, bustling market economies, and capitalist models of economic planning. Today, the situation remains the same, but even more intensified. This is the case not only in Europe anymore, but, especially after the fall of the Soviet Union, in the majority of the world’s economies. Fukuyama said this was the end of history – however, the corrosive elements of our system are starting to bear its teeth. Scholars believe that late capitalism does not actually require democracy to function. Systems with healthy democratic elements hinder private enterprises’ ability to make more profit by keeping them on an “institutional leash,” regulating their activities in the name of public interest. Therefore, one could say that giving people the power to decide for themselves isn’t the greatest business decision. And this has started to become obvious.
🗣️ Today, I was joined by Stefanos Loukopoulos, co-founder and director of Vouliwatch, a parliamentary watchdog NGO based in Athens. Greece is a prime example of the process I explained above, and Stefanos was kind enough to come on the show to help explain the situation better. We discussed a lot about Greece, the decline of its democratic institutions, and the disillusionment and apathy of people toward their political system. We also talked about his organization, Vouliwatch, and what kind of action it takes to tackle this phenomenon. Finally, we tied the local to the global aspect, touching on the phenomenon of democratic decline on a worldwide scale. I am so grateful to Stefanos for sharing his amazing insights on these topics, and I’m happy we got to dive deeper into the goings-on of my home country, Greece. I’m excited to share this episode so that all of you can also get a bit of a clearer picture of what’s going on in my little sun-washed corner of the globe 🙂
Thanks for tuning in!
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