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HomeGlobal Perspective & Critical ResearchThe crisis of the liberal zombie order

The crisis of the liberal zombie order

Author: Ross Douthat

Affiliation: New York Times

Organization/Publisher: New York Times

Date/Place: March 18, 2020/USA

Type of Literature: Analysis 

Word Count: 4200

Link:https://www.newstatesman.com/science-tech/coronavirus/2020/03/crisis-liberal-zombie-order

Keywords: Liberalism, Rivals of Liberalism, Sustainable Decadence

Brief:

The coronavirus pandemic is another rattling shock to liberalism after the 9/11 attacks and consequent global developments. The optimistic notion of the world during the late 1990s towards global harmony, peace and stability, universal democracy and technological advancement, has been replaced by growing pessimism, insecurities, and economic and financial crisis everywhere. Far worse than terrorism and the Iraq War, the 2008 financial crisis and the euro crisis, the deteriorating future of the EU and the political rise of nationalist leaders, the 2020 coronavirus pandemic vows to gut globalization by hardening borders, freezing economies, and making the dream of liberal progress a fable. At this juncture many liberalists fear whether it is the exhaustion or the end of liberal optimism and its establishments. On the other hand, the rival enemies of liberalism, notably in Moscow, Beijing, and Islamists polemicize the unsuccessful response by the Western establishments to discredit liberalism and to assert that authoritarianism is more prepared than liberalism for the challenges of the future. However, besides the fancied liberal collapse, there is another possibility—that a political system can be troubled, sclerotic and exhausted to achieve its projects, but still sustain without either real collapse or reform. The author proposes this holds true for the liberal political order over the upcoming few generations; “a kind of sustainable decadence, a zombie existence punctuated by periods of temporary crisis and alarm that continues indefinitely because all of its plausible rivals and inheritors have too many challenges and weaknesses of their own to effectively exploit its incompetence, torpor and stagnation.”


By: Jemal Muhamed Adem, CIGA Research Associate

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