Contemporary Challenges to Democracy


This is a project initiated by Dr. Paul Sandu, a RYA member pertaining to the Democracy and Social Cohesion theme.

As Dr Sandu suggests, we live in complicated times. We are witnessing growing wealth inequalities (both on national and international scale), the resurgence of nationalism, religious intolerance, xenophobia, we are on the brink of a planet-scale ecological disaster and now, we are confronting a pandemic that has already killed lots of people worldwide. All these crises are somehow connected, in the Western World, to the weakening of democracy, the disappearance of the welfare state, the numerous crises threatening our common European project, which has been sometimes largely reduced to an economical union. We are also witnessing the divorce between intellectuals and political elites – on the one hand – and the tax-payers – on the other hand. Conspiracy theories and lack of thrust in public institutions and governments all over Europe have made the current COVID crisis worse and are threatening to have a negative impact on the whole situation. The idea that we live in a post-truth era, in an era of alternative facts, is already common knowledge, although it is not clear what that means. 

These problems cannot be understood or addressed separately, since they are interconnected in numerous and often very complicated ways. Discussing one of them means almost always discussing all of them, at least in some implicit way. And this constellation of problems is threatening the very fabric of our society. That is why understanding the origin, the causes and the implications of this complex of problems is crucial, though it is only the first step – albeit the most important – towards finding a solution.

That is why on this platform, Dr. Sandu plans to open a debate on all the matters mentioned earlier, with the hope that, through discussion and dialogue, we can bridge the divides between us and find solution to the crises that are threatening our democracy and our society.

The first endeavour he made was a celebrated interview with Prof. Noam Chomsky, to be found here: