Examining causes of democracy breakdown and authoritarianism, with Thomas Carothers

A talk with Thomas Carothers, an expert on foreign policy and democracy building. I ask him about the root psychological and social causes of extreme polarization, democracy breakdown, and authoritarianism. Carothers is an expert on international democracy support, democratization, and U.S. foreign policy. He serves as senior vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and is a leading authority on international support for democracy, human rights, governance, the rule of law, and civil society. He’s author or editor of ten critically acclaimed books and many articles, including, most recently, Democracies Divided: The Global Challenge of Political Polarization.

Topics discussed:

  • What is the state of democracy around the world and how has that changed in the past few years?
  • What are the root psychological causes behind some countries becoming very divided and desiring authoritarian leaders/responses?
  • Are there inherent processes that tend to lead economically successful countries to go down the path of polarization and democracy erosion?