General Studies IIReports

Democracy Report 2022


According to the latest report from the V-Dem Institute at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg, the level of democracy enjoyed by the average global citizen in 2021 is down to 1989 levels, with the democratic gains of the post-Cold War period eroding rapidly in the last few years.

Key findings of the Democracy Report 2022

India: India has been categorised as an autocracy (‘electoral autocracy’) rather than a democracy. It is ranked 93rd on the index out of 179 countries.

India has figured in the top 10 autocratising countries of the world along with El Salvador, Turkey and Hungary.

In South Asia, India is ranked below Sri Lanka (88), Nepal (71), Bhutan (65) and above Pakistan (117).

Globally: Sweden has topped the LDI index. Other Scandinavian countries such as Denmark and Norway along with Costa Rica and New Zealand make up the top five in liberal democracy rankings.

The level of democracy enjoyed by the average global citizen in 2021 is down to 1989 levels. The last 30 years of democratic advances are now eradicated.

Dictatorships are on the rise and harbour 70% of the world population – 5.4 billion people. 

Electoral autocracy remains the most common regime type and harbours 44% of the world’s population or 3.4 billion people.

Autocratisation is spreading rapidly with a record of 33 countries autocratising.

About the Democracy Report 2022

  • The study, titled ‘Democracy Report 2022: Autocratisation Changing Nature?’ states that more than twice as many countries are undergoing Autocratisation as are witnessing democratization.
  • The conceptual scheme takes into account not only the electoral dimension (free and fair elections) but also the liberal principle that democracy must protect “individual and minority rights”.
  • The V-Dem report classifies countries into four regime types based on their score in the Liberal Democratic Index (LDI):
  • Liberal Democracy
  • Electoral Democracy
  • Electoral Autocracy and
  • Closed Autocracy

What is the report’s methodology?

  • Since key features of democracy, such as, judicial independence, are not directly measurable, and to rule out distortions due to subjective judgments, V-Dem uses aggregate expert judgments.
  • It gathers data from a pool of over 3,700 experts worldwide who provide judgments on different concepts and cases.
  • Leveraging the diverse opinions, the V-Dem’s measurement model algorithmically.

The Liberal Democratic Index (LDI)

  • The LDI captures both liberal and electoral aspects of a democracy based on 71 indicators that make up the:
  • Liberal Component Index (LCI): It measures aspects such as protection of individual liberties and legislative constraints on the executive.
  • Electoral Democracy Index (EDI): It considers indicators that guarantee free and fair elections such as freedom of expression and freedom of association.
  • In addition, the LDI also uses:
  • Egalitarian Component Index (to what extent different social groups are equal)
  • Participatory Component Index (health of citizen groups, civil society organisations) and
  • Deliberative Component Index (whether political decisions are taken through public reasoning focused on common good or through emotional appeals, solidarity attachments, coercion)

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What does the report say about the Changing Nature of Autocratisation?

  • Biggest Drivers of Autocratisation:
    • One of the biggest drivers of autocratisation is “toxic polarisation”.
      • Polarisation has been defined as a phenomenon that erodes respect of counter-arguments and associated aspects of the deliberative component of democracy.
      • It is a dominant trend in 40 countries, as opposed to 5 countries that showed rising polarisation in 2011.
      • Toxic levels of polarisation contribute to electoral victories of anti-pluralist leaders and the empowerment of their autocratic agendas.
      • Noting that “polarisation and autocratisation are mutually reinforcing”, the report states that “measures of polarisation of society, political polarisation, and political parties’ use of hate speech tend to systematically rise together to extreme levels.”
  • Tools used to Sharpen Polarisation:
    • “Misinformation” has been identified as a key tool deployed by autocratising governments to sharpen polarisation and shape domestic and international opinion.
    • Repression of civil society and censorship of media were other favoured tools of autocratising regimes.
      • While freedom of expression declined in a record 35 countries in 2021, with only 10 showing improvement, repression of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) worsened in 44 countries over the past ten years, “putting it at the very top of the indicators affected by autocratisation”.
      • Also, in 37 countries, direct government control over CSOs’ existence moved in an authoritarian direction — “evidence of the far-ranging weakening of civil society around the world.”
      • Decisive autonomy for the Electoral Management Body (EMB) deteriorated in 25 countries

Comparison Element  DemocracyAutocracy
Meaning of TermFrom Greek- Demos means “People” & Kratos means “Power” or “Authority”From Greek- Auto means “Self” & Kratos means “Power” of “Authority”
GovernmentThe power and strength of the government are given to it by the peopleOne person or group hold all the power, without the participation or sometimes even the consent of the people
Freedoms & RightsIdentified in country’s constitution and created by law.Determined by person or group in powerOften severely restrictive to suppress opponents.Vary based on religion, sex, status etc.Books, Magazines censored by governmentAbility to express one’s point of view to assemble etc. often limited

Source: The Hindu ; Report; V-DEM

You can find many articles on REPORT (part of GS II) in our website. Go through these articles share with your friends and post your views in comment section.

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