EJIL was founded in 1989, coinciding with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the attendant excitement encapsulated by that well-known optimistic/hubristic End of History phraseology, with predictions of liberal democracy to become regnant in the world and a New International Legal Order to replace the old First World-Second World-Third World distinctions.
Thirty years later the state of democracy, whether liberal or social or any other variant, seems to be far from sanguine.
Here is but a partial list of the challenges to democracy in the contemporary world:
- The advent of so-called ‘illiberal democracies’
- The crisis and breakdown of trust within established democracies
- The reality or otherwise of states with ‘formal democracy’ often reduced to little more than elections, more or less free
- The accountability and rule of law concerns, famously termed GAL concerns, which transnational governance regimes raise as indispensable features of democracy
- The persistent ‘democracy deficit’ or ‘political deficit’ of the European Union and similar Organizations
- The emergence of the global ‘data economy’ with mega platforms calling into question basic assumptions about territory and jurisdiction and calling into question the ability of democratic regimes to reign in such platforms increasingly questioned
- The impact of both financial markets and international monetary bodies on the internal margin of manoeuvre and democratic choices of economic management
- Democracy and global inequality: The relationship between counter-democratic ideologies, legal reforms and political processes at the domestic and global levels and social and economic processes such as the shrinking middle class and the lasting ramifications of the 2008 economic crisis.