Democracy in an age of anxiety
Posted on November 5th, 2016

According to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest Democracy Index one of the biggest threats to democracy is the anxious mood of our times

Sri Lanka is placed 69th in the ranking of democracies falling within the category of Flawed Democracies like India at No. 35 and Japan at No. 23

According to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest Democracy Index the US has dropped to 20th on the Economist Intelligence Unit’s ranking of democracies – down three places since 2007, it’s now tucked in below Uruguay.

The fearful era in which we live is not conducive to defending democratic standards or extending democracy’s reach across the globe. The latest edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index reflects the situation in 2015, a year in which democracy was tested in the face of war, terrorism, mass migration and other crises, and, in some cases, suffered serious setbacks. In our age of anxiety, the first casualty of fear and insecurity is often freedom.

The Democracy Index provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide. Almost one-half of the world’s countries can be considered to be democracies, but, in our index, the number of full democracies” is low, at only 20 countries; 59 countries are rated as flawed democracies”. Of the remaining 88 countries in our index, 51 are authoritarian” and 37 are considered to be hybrid regimes”. Norway tops the Democracy Index global ranking in 2015 and North Korea is bottom. The US scrapes into the “full democracy” category, in 20th place, reflecting deepening polarisation of the political scene, popular discontent with the workings of democracy and a repressive law enforcement system.

Democracy Index 2015, by regime type
  No. of countries % of countries % of world population
Full democracies 20 12.0 8.9
Flawed democracies 59 35.3 39.5
Hybrid regimes 37 22.2 17.5
Authoritarian regimes 51 30.5 34.1
Note. “World” population refers to the total population of the 167 countries covered by the Index. Since this excludes only micro-states, this is nearly equal to the entire estimated world population.
Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Most “full democracies” are in western Europe. There are two Asian countries, one Latin American country (Uruguay) and one African country (Mauritius). Flawed democracies” are concentrated in Latin America, eastern Europe and Asia. “Authoritarian regimes” are concentrated in Africa, the Middle East and the CIS countries of eastern Europe. Around 2.6bn people, more than one-third of the world’s population, live under authoritarian rule (with a large share being, of course, in China).

The title of this year’s report reflects the threat to democracy emanating from the fearful mood of our times. According to Joan Hoey, Editor of the report, “An increased sense of anxiety and insecurity in the face of diverse perceived risks and threats—economic, political, social and security—is undermining democracy. Defending democracy means upholding liberty, equality, tolerance and free expression, promoting a democratic political culture and fostering democratic institutions.”

 The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2015 is available free of charge at: www.eiu.com/democracy2015

 

Notes for editors

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. The index provides a snapshot of the current state of democracy worldwide for 165 independent states and two territories (almost the entire population of the world). Countries are placed within one of four types of regimes: full democracies”, flawed democracies”, hybrid regimes” and authoritarian regimes.”

The overall index of democracy, on a 0 to 10 scale, is based on the ratings for 60 indicators grouped in the five categories. The overall index is the simple average of the five category indexes. A three-point scoring system for the 60 indicators is used. The category indexes are based on the sum of the indicator scores in the category, converted to a 0 to 10 scale. Countries are placed within one of four types of regimes: full democracies” (scores of 8 to 10); flawed democracies”—scores of 6 to 7.9; hybrid regimes”—scores of 4 to 5.9; authoritarian regimes”—scores below 4.

 

About The Economist Intelligence Unit

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is the world’s leading resource for economic and business research, forecasting and analysis. It provides accurate and impartial intelligence for companies, government agencies, financial institutions and academic organisations around the globe, inspiring business leaders to act with confidence since 1946. EIU products include its flagship Country Reports service, providing political and economic analysis for 195 countries, and a portfolio of subscription-based data and forecasting services. The company also undertakes bespoke research and analysis projects on individual markets and business sectors. More information is available at www.eiu.com. The EIU is headquartered in London, UK, with offices in more than 40 cities and a network of some 650 country experts and analysts worldwide. It operates independently as the business-to-business arm of The Economist Group, the leading source of analysis on international business and world affairs.

 

 
Democracy Index 2015
    Overall Electoral process Functioning Political Political Civil
  Rank score and pluralism of government participation culture liberties
Full democracies
Norway 1 9.9 10.0 9.6 10.0 10.0 10.0
Iceland 2 9.6 10.0 9.3 8.9 10.0 9.7
Sweden 3 9.5 9.6 9.6 8.3 10.0 9.7
New Zealand 4 9.3 10.0 9.3 8.9 8.1 10.0
Denmark 5 9.1 9.2 9.3 8.3 9.4 9.4
Switzerland 6 9.1 9.6 9.3 7.8 9.4 9.4
Canada 7 9.1 9.6 9.3 7.8 8.8 10.0
Finland 8 9.0 10.0 8.9 7.8 8.8 9.7
Australia 9 9.0 9.6 8.9 7.8 8.8 10.0
Netherlands 10 8.9 9.6 8.6 8.9 8.1 9.4
Luxembourg 11 8.9 10.0 9.3 6.7 8.8 9.7
Ireland 12 8.9 9.6 7.5 7.8 9.4 10.0
Germany 13 8.6 9.6 8.6 7.8 8.1 9.1
Austria 14 8.5 9.6 7.9 8.3 7.5 9.4
Malta 15 8.4 9.2 8.2 6.1 8.8 9.7
United Kingdom 16 8.3 9.6 7.1 6.7 8.8 9.4
Spain 17 8.3 9.6 7.1 7.2 8.1 9.4
Mauritius 18 8.3 9.2 8.2 5.6 8.8 9.7
Uruguay 19 8.2 10.0 8.9 4.4 7.5 10.0
United States of America 20 8.1 9.2 7.5 7.2 8.1 8.2
Flawed democracies
Italy 21 8.0 9.6 6.4 7.2 8.1 8.5
South Korea 22 8.0 8.8 7.9 7.2 7.5 8.5
Japan =23 8.0 9.2 8.2 6.1 7.5 8.8
Costa Rica =23 8.0 9.6 7.5 6.1 6.9 9.7
Czech Republic 25 7.9 9.6 7.1 6.7 6.9 9.4
Belgium 26 7.9 9.6 8.2 5.6 6.9 9.4
France 27 7.9 9.6 7.1 7.8 6.3 8.8
Botswana 28 7.9 9.2 7.1 6.1 7.5 9.4
Estonia 29 7.9 9.6 7.9 6.1 6.9 8.8
Chile 30 7.8 9.6 8.6 4.4 6.9 9.7
Taiwan 31 7.8 9.6 7.9 6.7 5.6 9.4
Cabo Verde 32 7.8 9.2 7.9 6.7 6.3 9.1
Portugal 33 7.8 9.6 6.4 6.7 6.9 9.4
Israel 34 7.8 9.2 7.1 8.9 7.5 6.2
India 35 7.7 9.6 7.1 7.2 5.6 9.1
Slovenia 36 7.6 9.6 7.1 6.7 5.6 8.8
South Africa 37 7.6 8.3 8.2 8.3 5.0 7.9
Lithuania 38 7.5 9.6 6.1 6.1 6.3 9.7
Cyprus 39 7.5 9.2 6.4 6.7 6.3 9.1
Greece 40 7.5 9.6 5.4 6.7 6.3 9.4
Jamaica 41 7.4 9.2 6.8 5.0 6.9 9.1
Latvia 42 7.4 9.6 5.7 5.6 6.9 9.1
Slovakia 43 7.3 9.6 7.5 5.6 5.0 8.8
Timor-Leste 44 7.2 8.7 7.1 5.6 6.9 7.9
Panama 45 7.2 9.6 6.4 6.1 5.0 8.8
Bulgaria 46 7.1 9.2 6.1 7.2 5.0 8.2
Trinidad and Tobago 47 7.1 9.6 7.1 5.6 5.0 8.2
Poland 48 7.1 9.6 5.7 6.7 4.4 9.1
Indonesia 49 7.0 7.8 7.1 6.7 6.3 7.4
Argentina 50 7.0 9.2 5.0 6.1 6.9 7.9
Brazil 51 7.0 9.6 6.8 5.6 3.8 9.1
Croatia 52 6.9 9.2 6.1 5.6 5.6 8.2
Ghana 53 6.9 8.3 5.7 6.7 6.3 7.4
Philippines =54 6.8 8.3 5.7 6.7 4.4 9.1
Hungary =54 6.8 9.2 6.1 4.4 6.9 7.7
Suriname 56 6.8 9.2 6.4 5.0 5.0 8.2
Tunisia 57 6.7 7.0 6.1 7.8 6.9 5.9
Serbia 58 6.7 9.2 5.4 6.7 5.0 7.4
Romania 59 6.7 9.2 5.7 5.0 5.0 8.5
Dominican Republic 60 6.7 8.8 5.7 5.0 6.3 7.7
El Salvador 61 6.6 9.2 6.1 4.4 5.0 8.5
Mongolia =62 6.6 9.2 5.7 5.0 5.0 8.2
Colombia =62 6.6 9.2 7.1 3.9 4.4 8.5
Lesotho 64 6.6 8.3 5.4 6.7 5.6 7.1
Peru 65 6.6 9.2 5.0 6.1 4.4 8.2
Mexico 66 6.6 8.3 6.1 7.2 4.4 6.8
Hong Kong 67 6.5 4.3 5.7 5.6 7.5 9.4
Malaysia 68 6.4 6.9 7.9 5.6 6.3 5.6
Sri Lanka 69 6.4 7.8 6.8 5.0 6.9 5.6
Moldova 70 6.4 7.9 4.3 6.7 4.4 8.5
Paraguay 71 6.3 8.3 5.7 5.0 4.4 8.2
Namibia 72 6.3 5.7 5.4 6.7 5.6 8.2
Zambia 73 6.3 7.9 5.4 3.9 6.9 7.4
Singapore 74 6.1 4.3 7.5 5.6 6.3 7.1
Senegal 75 6.1 7.9 5.4 4.4 5.6 7.1
Guyana 76 6.1 7.9 5.4 5.6 4.4 7.1
Papua New Guinea 77 6.0 6.9 6.1 3.9 5.6 7.7
Macedonia 78 6.0 7.3 4.6 6.1 4.4 7.7
Montenegro 79 6.0 7.9 5.7 5.0 4.4 7.1
Hybrid regime
Guatemala 80 5.9 7.9 6.1 3.9 4.4 7.4
Albania 81 5.9 7.0 4.4 5.6 5.0 7.7
Georgia 82 5.9 8.7 4.3 5.6 5.0 5.9
Ecuador 83 5.9 8.3 4.6 5.0 4.4 7.1
Honduras 84 5.8 8.8 5.7 3.9 4.4 6.5
Bolivia 85 5.8 7.0 5.4 5.0 3.8 7.7
Bangladesh 86 5.7 7.4 5.1 5.0 4.4 6.8
Benin 87 5.7 6.9 5.7 4.4 5.6 5.9
Ukraine =88 5.7 5.8 3.9 6.7 5.0 7.1
Mali =88 5.7 7.4 3.9 4.4 6.3 6.5
Fiji 90 5.7 4.6 5.7 6.7 5.6 5.9
Tanzania 91 5.6 7.0 5.0 5.0 5.6 5.3
Malawi 92 5.6 6.6 4.3 4.4 6.3 6.2
Kyrgyz Republic =93 5.3 7.8 3.3 5.6 5.0 5.0
Kenya =93 5.3 4.3 5.0 6.7 5.6 5.0
Nicaragua 95 5.3 6.2 3.3 4.4 5.6 6.8
Uganda 96 5.2 5.7 3.6 4.4 6.3 6.2
Turkey 97 5.1 6.7 5.4 5.0 5.6 2.9
Thailand 98 5.1 4.5 3.9 5.6 5.0 6.5
Venezuela 99 5.0 6.1 3.9 5.0 4.4 5.6
Liberia 100 5.0 7.8 0.8 5.6 5.0 5.6
Bhutan 101 4.9 8.3 5.4 2.8 4.4 3.8
Lebanon 102 4.9 4.4 2.1 7.8 4.4 5.6
Madagascar 103 4.9 5.5 2.9 5.6 5.6 4.7
Bosnia and Hercegovina 104 4.8 6.5 2.9 3.9 4.4 6.5
Nepal 105 4.8 3.9 4.3 4.4 5.6 5.6
Burkina Faso 106 4.7 4.4 4.3 4.4 5.6 4.7
Morocco 107 4.7 4.8 4.6 3.9 5.6 4.4
Nigeria 108 4.6 6.1 4.3 3.3 5.0 4.4
Mozambique 109 4.6 4.4 3.6 5.6 5.6 3.8
Palestine 110 4.6 4.8 2.1 7.8 4.4 3.8
Sierra Leone 111 4.6 6.6 1.9 2.8 6.3 5.3
Pakistan 112 4.4 6.0 5.7 2.8 2.5 5.0
Cambodia 113 4.3 3.2 5.7 3.3 5.0 4.1
Myanmar 114 4.1 3.2 3.6 4.4 6.9 2.7
Iraq 115 4.1 4.3 0.1 7.2 4.4 4.4
Armenia 116 4.0 4.3 2.9 4.4 2.5 5.9
Authoritarian
Mauritania 117 4.0 3.0 4.3 5.0 3.1 4.4
Algeria 118 4.0 3.0 2.2 3.9 6.3 4.4
Haiti 119 3.9 4.8 2.2 2.2 3.8 6.8
Jordan 120 3.9 3.6 3.9 3.9 4.4 3.5
Kuwait =121 3.9 3.2 4.3 3.9 4.4 3.5
Niger =121 3.9 6.3 1.1 2.8 4.4 4.7
Ethiopia 123 3.8 0.0 3.6 6.1 5.6 3.8
Gabon 124 3.8 3.0 2.2 4.4 5.0 4.1
Comoros 125 3.7 4.3 2.2 4.4 3.8 3.8
Cameroon 126 3.7 2.0 3.6 3.9 5.0 3.8
Belarus 127 3.6 1.8 3.6 3.9 6.3 2.7
Vietnam 128 3.5 0.0 3.9 3.9 6.9 2.9
Cuba 129 3.5 1.8 4.6 3.9 4.4 2.9
Togo 130 3.4 4.0 1.1 2.8 5.0 4.1
Angola 131 3.4 0.9 3.2 5.0 4.4 3.2
Côte d’Ivoire =132 3.3 0.0 3.2 3.9 5.6 3.8
Russia =132 3.3 2.7 2.9 5.0 2.5 3.5
Egypt =134 3.2 3.0 2.9 3.3 3.8 2.9
Qatar =134 3.2 0.0 3.9 2.2 5.6 4.1
Guinea =136 3.1 3.5 0.4 4.4 4.4 2.9
China =136 3.1 0.0 4.6 3.3 6.3 1.5
Swaziland 138 3.1 0.9 2.9 2.2 5.6 3.8
Rwanda 139 3.1 0.8 5.0 2.2 4.4 2.9
Kazakhstan 140 3.1 0.5 2.1 4.4 4.4 3.8
Zimbabwe 141 3.1 0.5 2.0 3.9 5.6 3.2
Oman 142 3.0 0.0 3.9 2.8 4.4 4.1
Gambia 143 3.0 1.3 3.9 2.2 5.0 2.4
Congo (Brazzaville) 144 2.9 1.7 2.9 3.3 3.8 2.9
Djibouti 145 2.9 0.4 2.5 3.3 5.6 2.7
Bahrain 146 2.8 1.3 3.2 2.8 4.4 2.4
Afghanistan 147 2.8 2.5 1.1 3.9 2.5 3.8
United Arab Emirates 148 2.8 0.0 3.6 2.2 5.0 2.9
Azerbaijan 149 2.7 0.5 2.1 3.3 3.8 3.8
Burundi 150 2.5 0.5 0.4 3.9 5.0 2.7
Sudan =151 2.4 0.0 1.8 3.9 5.0 1.2
Eritrea =151 2.4 0.0 2.1 1.7 6.9 1.2
Libya 153 2.3 1.0 0.0 1.7 5.6 2.9
Yemen 154 2.2 0.5 0.4 4.4 5.0 0.9
Laos 155 2.2 0.0 3.2 1.7 5.0 1.2
Iran 156 2.2 0.0 2.9 3.3 3.1 1.5
DRC 157 2.1 0.9 0.7 2.8 4.4 1.8
Uzbekistan =158 2.0 0.1 1.9 2.2 5.0 0.6
Tajikistan =158 2.0 0.6 0.1 1.7 6.3 1.2
Guinea-Bissau =160 1.9 1.7 0.0 2.8 3.1 2.1
Saudi Arabia =160 1.9 0.0 2.9 2.2 3.1 1.5
Turkmenistan 162 1.8 0.0 0.8 2.8 5.0 0.6
Equatorial Guinea 163 1.8 0.0 0.8 2.2 4.4 1.5
Central African Republic 164 1.6 1.3 0.0 1.7 2.5 2.4
Chad 165 1.5 0.0 0.0 1.1 3.8 2.7
Syria 166 1.4 0.0 0.0 2.8 4.4 0.0
North Korea 167 1.1 0.0 2.5 1.7 1.3 0.0
Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit.

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