Younger people are growing apathetic to democrcy

Jon Henley writing for The Guardian:

However, only 57% of respondents aged 18 to 35 felt democracy was preferable to any other form of government, against 71% of those over 56, and 42% of younger people said they were supportive of military rule, against just 20% of older respondents.

The survey spoke to young people from over 30 countries.

Many respondents believed China’s growing influence would be a force for good, with nearly twice as many respondents believing it would have a positive impact (45%) on their country as a negative one (25%).

However, people in lower-income countries such as Pakistan (76%), Ethiopia (72%), and Egypt (71%) were markedly more enthusiastic than those in higher-income democracies such as Japan (3%), Germany (14%), the UK (16%) and the US (25%).

In the West we view China as a necessary evil; an authoritarian regime that exploits its citizens, but has embedded itself into so much of the global supply chain that to cut them out is a difficult – if not impossible – proposition.

In the UK, the survey – titled Can Democracy Deliver? – found a low level of trust in national politicians (20% against the global average of 30%), and also low confidence in international institutions (26%), with only France, Germany, Japan and Russia scoring lower.

This survey is both shocking, but also totally unsurprising. Young people typically over-index as more liberal, and at least in the UK have had successive governments lurch continuously towards the right and actively attempt to curtail democratic rights.

‘Democracy’ is failing young people. This is the first generation to be worse off than its predecessors, and there seems to be no impetus to address that. Political and social apathy is a real risk, and one I fear that the more authoritarian factions are eager to exploit.