How Kleptocracy Shapes Our World

In many countries around the world today, governments are designed not primarily to govern but to serve the personal enrichment of ruling elites. Kleptocracy is the term used to describe such ‘government by thieves’, whereby top political elites systematically raid state resources with impunity.[1] Kleptocracy is enabled by the absence of democratic checks and balances on those in power. Kleptocratic governments undermine the rule of law, subjugate the courts and media, and deploy state security services to enrich the ruling elite and pacify the population.[2]  Kleptocracy is largely responsible for creating and perpetuating many of today’s global crises, including acute poverty and hunger, war, religious extremism, and global inequality.  Continue reading

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The Populist Authoritarian – Hollowing Out Democracy From Within

Through the rise of populism, those who feel they lost out in the culture wars that have been fought democratically across Europe and the United States in recent decades are fighting back, and this time they do not feel the need to be restrained by the rules of democracy.

Democracy has been in a global recession for most of the last decade, and the recession is deepening. For three decades, from the mid-1970 to the mid-2000s, the world witnessed a spread of democracy never before seen in history. During this time, the proportion of democratic states doubled, from around 30 percent of the world’s independent states in 1974 to about 60 percent in 2006. [1] Since 2006, however, the spread of democracy has ceased, and many existing democracies have reverted to authoritarianism. This authoritarian resurgence is also happening in long-established Western democracies which are experiencing a threat not seen since the 1930s – the choice by large swathes of their electorates to vote for less democracy. [2]     Continue reading

Demons and angels: strongman leaders – democracy or mob rule?

Those who struggle for freedom across the world know that free elections, the rule of law, human rights, freedom of the press, and equality regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation are the pillars of democratic systems that protect us from a minority who would subjugate us and turn us against one another for their personal gain. Democracy matters because it is all that stands between us and the Hitlers, Stalins, Maos and Pol Pots that live among us still. Continue reading here.

Trump’s Angry Narcissistic Fog is a Threat to Democracy Everywhere

Trump’s campaign forcefully reminds us that psychology is central to politics. Despite the so called ‘Goldwater Rule’, which prohibits psychiatrists from commenting on a public figure’s mental health without having personally examined the individual and received their permission to do so, dozens of mental health professionals have issued stark warnings that Trump suffers from narcissistic personality disorder. Aside from Trump’s personal attributes, evidence to support this controversial assertion can be found in the defining characteristic of Trump’s campaign, namely the angry narcissistic fog which he has brought down upon America.   Continue reading

Trump’s Victory is Not Democracy in Action, It is Democracy in Crisis

Donald Trump’s victory is a major blow to western democracy, delivering as it does the most powerful position on earth to a man who clearly demonstrates personality traits that many psychiatrists and mental health professionals have warned are consistent with narcissistic personality disorder. Trump’s most divisive acts during the election campaign are consistent with someone who suffers from this serious emotional and mental disorder. As the UK Guardian newspaper points out, by electing someone whose behaviour is consistent with this severe disorder, Americans have done a very dangerous thing, and because of what they have done,the world faces dark, uncertain and fearful times.    Continue reading