Can a weakened market weaken the foundation of democracy?
The strength of democracy is in the people, but if the people loose faith in democracy what could happen? The trade war between the US and China is getting a lot of coverage in the news, but South Korea and Japan have been going back and forth with trade restrictions since early July. Japan is accusing South Korea of leaking information to North Korea, and in response they are putting tariffs on South Korean tech companies. President Moon of South Korea responded with a defiant statement “We will never lose to Japan” at a meeting to his cabinet back in August. South Korea has retaliated with a boycott of Japanese goods and travel. In the past these two countries have been each other’s most active trade partner, but with economic ties being cut how significantly will this dispute effect the two nations?
Where is the tipping point?
Yascha Mounk, a political scientist specializing in theory of democracy talks about how democracy is in danger at many speaking events here is one for example. Mounk explains how economic stagnation leads people to being more open to changing the way things are. Specifically stating that if people see that their kids aren’t going to have a better life, they are more open taking chances with new governing styles.
Democracy is being challenged across the world on many fronts. A weakened market could influence the people to procure a change. Change could bring very different officials into office, with an authoritarian view.
Looking at the bigger picture of the world. The National Democratic Institute has 21 elections taking place from now (oct 6) to the end of the year. If once allied nations get caught up in trade disputes and other foreign policy issues, the global markets can be tossed into disarray and be the opening that an authoritarian needs to grasp a foothold in the government. With all the elections that take place in any given year it wouldn’t take long for the scales to tip against democracy on the world stage.
Peace Theory….. … ?
The Democratic peace theory must not account for wars of trade. South Korea and Japan’s trade war has already started to turn the markets.
All over the world markets are falling in places like Tokyo, Sydney, and Seoul. European markets aren’t safe either.
Financial tensions arise between allies in the European Union and the US. Tariffs are slowly eroding alliances. In a global market the balance is very delicate, and a handful of trade disputes can throw the entire system into disarray.
The global market is a fragile system. With multiple trade wars going on in Asia only time will tell if the people will get fed up with their elected officials and vote for an anti-democratic or new way of governing.
Institute, National Democratic. https://www.ndi.org/elections-calendar. n.d. 13 October 2019.
Kim, Catherine. Vox – The escalting trade war between South Korea and Japan, explained. 9 August 2019. 13 October 2019.
Mounk, Yascha. https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674976825. 27 October 2017. 13 October 2019.
Photo by Adli Wahid on Unsplash
There is a strong link between a weakened economy and unseating the leadership that is believed to have caused it. I do not necessarily believe that people would want a change in the type of government in response to a falling economy, but the pendulum tends to swing the other way come election day. If challengers were to infiltrate said party, they could use the desire for change to their advantage when promoting populist ideals. Trade disputes can be a political blessing for a challenger, much in the same way a recession is good for the challenger. When the economy is doing poorly, people are looking for someone to blame.