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Liberty’s Light Glows Dimmer: Global Freedom Declines

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Democracy Declines Worldwide

Democracy Declines Worldwide

                  Liberty’s Light Glows Dimmer: Global Freedom Declines

 Freedom around the world has declined for the fourth consecutive year, reports Freedom House in its 2014 assessment of world freedom.  The organization also reports that the democratic form of government has globally lost ground for eight consecutive years.

Freedom House is a non-governmental organization based in Washington, DC.  In compiling its annual publication on global freedom, the organization uses a range of indicators for political rights and civil liberties to classify countries as “Free”, “Partly Free”, or “Not Free”.  All of the world’s 195 governments are included in its assessment of freedom.

In 2013, 88 countries (45% of world’s population) were classified as “Free”, a decline of 2 countries from the previous year.  The number of countries classified as “Partly Free” was 59 (25% of world’s population), an increase of one country from the previous year.  Classified as “Not free” were 48 countries (35% of the world’s population), an increase of one country from the previous year.

Also, among the findings in the Freedom House report is that authoritarian regimes are more numerous; and, though their ideologies may differ, they tend to form alliances to promote their common goals.  For examples: they often collaborate to prop up other autocratic governments; and, they coordinate their efforts at international forums (such as the United Nations) to block actions that would encourage democracy and reduce authoritarian governments around the world.

Experts note that several factors must accompany democracy to ensure that democracy will endure.  Some of those factors are a free market economy, laws to protect individual and minority rights, checks (such a viable court system) to limit government power, and leaders who are inclined and willing to compromise.  They observe that one or more of these accompaniments are often missing in non-democratic countries.

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