Linked inTwitter

Part consultancy, part thinktank, part social enterprise, Halcyon helps you prepare for and respond to personal, organisational and societal change.

Halcyon's forthcoming 52:52:52 campaign on Twitter will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

To be a catalyst is the ambition most appropriate for those who see the world as being in constant change, and who, without thinking that they control it, wish to influence its direction - Theodore Zeldin

What's Changing? - Democracy



Please see below selected recent democracy-related change.


See also: Halcyon Democracy Headlines


August 2018

  • Democracy is, apparently, floundering, warned Exponential View. In the United States, support for being governed by elected officials has declined, especially amongst the young. And more than half of the people living in democracies think their voice is “rarely” or “never heard”, according to this recent research. In many democratic countries, increasingly fragmented and entrenched ideological positions are compounding the growing influence of media consumed on algorithmically influenced platforms.
  • Meanwhile, an anarchist critique of democracy examined the concept in all its various forms. from alienation, to the logic of contextualised decision-making, the reduction of ideas to opinions and the near-universal acceptance of “majority rule”, but others want to go even furtherm believing "it is not enough for democracy to be radical; it must be revolutionary"
  • In a more positive note, at the turn of the 20th century, there were fewer than ten democracies in the world. By the turn of the 21st, that number had reached 80, with half of humanity governed by some form of democracy.
  • Indeed, GZEROMedia noted that India’s democracy has withstood the test of time. The nation of more 1.3 billion people has to deal with divisions of language, class, and religion. The constitution recognises 22 separate major languages that are spoken by at least one million people. A majority Hindu nation, India also boasts the world’s second largest Muslim population, outstripped only by Indonesia. The vestiges of the hierarchical caste system, long since outlawed, continue to limit people’s educational, career, and life prospects. Despite these hurdles, the country has experienced seven decades of almost uninterrupted democratic rule. However, there are always risks, warns GZEROMedia: e.g. the government’s recent threat to strip 4 million people, many of whom are migrants from the predominantly Muslim Bangladesh, of their citizenship demonstrates the danger.
  • New democratic developments are also emerging - experiments in e-voting, or an increase in direct democracy, or the use of referenda more frequently to connect with citizens.


July 2018

  • Norway once again topped the Economist Democracy Index global ranking in 2017. The Nordics occupy the top three spots, with Iceland and Sweden taking second and third place. New Zealand comes in fourth place and Denmark in fifth. Finland is not far behind, in ninth place with a total score above 9. At the other end of the rankings North Korea, with a total score of 1.08, remains firmly ensconced in last place. Syria, Chad, the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) also bring up the rear, occupying the four slots above North Korea. The scores for Syria and Chad did not change in 2017 compared with 2016, but the scores for CAR and the DRC both declined in 2017.


June 2018

  • Afrobarometer research in 36 African countries between 2014 and 2015 found that 67 per cent of respondents saw  democracy as the best system of government. In 26 of the 36 surveyed countries, popular demand for democracy surpasses citizens’ perceptions of how democratic their countries currently are. However, while constitutional restraints – particularly term limits – and laws protecting civil liberties are coming under attack across the continent, citizens of many countries have staged protests against these retrenchments.

  • Although in the 2016 US presidential election, just 55.7 percent of the voting age population cast ballots, 25 other industrialised countries showed higher turnout than that in their last election cycle, according to a new study by Pew.


May 2018

  • There is no guarantee liberal democracy will survive the century, warned Quartz. Rival illiberal regimes in China, Turkey, and Russia claim broad popular support, and are now competing for legitimacy. The West’s remaining liberal democracies need to deliver for the populations if they want to survive, according to John Gray in the New Statesman.


April 2018



  • More than 36% of the world’s population still live in "authoritarian regimes", according to the Democracy Index.
  • Global democracy suffered a significant regression in 2017, according to The Economist's latest annual Democracy Index published today. The Index – which assesses the state of democracy in 165 independent states and two territories in 2017 – has recorded the worst performance since the aftermath of the global financial and economic crisis in 2010. Not a single region recorded an improvement in its average score in 2017 compared with 2016. One contributing factor to this has been a marked decline in media freedoms and curbs on free speech, through growing threats of government repression and new challenges from non-state actors. This year’s Democracy Index report has a special focus on media freedom and includes a new Media Freedom Index and global ranking. Key findings from the report included:

    • Deepening political, social and cultural divisions are becoming entrenched in many of the world’s democracies
    • Asia experienced the biggest democratic decline of all the seven regions
    • Spain has retained its status as a "full democracy", but its score fell sharply, in part because of the national government’s handling of the Catalonia crisis
    • Nordic countries occupy the top three spots of the ranking, with North Korea in last place,