Markets and Democracy in the 21st Century

Markets and Democracy in the 21st Century is a major research area of CFR's Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy initiative. Many viewed the end of the Cold War as the triumph of the Western model of liberal capitalist democracy. Today, however, that is no longer clear. China’s rise has produced an alternative system of "authoritarian capitalism;" attempts to build enduring democratic institutions in Iraq and Afghanistan have faced deep challenges; and the economic crisis of recent years has rattled faith in open markets. The Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy initiative is examining issues surrounding economic and political openness and reform—and the United States’ efforts to promote these goals—in the context of current debates.

Please see below for relevant publications.

The Economic Roots of the Arab Spring

Speaker: Hernando de Soto
Presider: Isobel Coleman

Speaker

Hernando de Soto, President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy, which advises heads of state and governments worldwide; Author, The Other Path: The Invisible Revolution in the Third World and The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else

Presider

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Poverty; Political Movements and Protests

Why Nations Fail (Audio)

Speaker: Daron Acemoglu
Presider: Isobel Coleman

In his new book Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, Daron Acemoglu looks at why some nations prosper and why some fail. He concludes that it depends on whether institutions are pluralistic and inclusive or extractive and autocratic.

See more in Global; Fragile or Failed States

Merits of a Syrian Cease-Fire

Ed Husain interviewed by Bernard Gwertzman

A deadline for cease-fire in Syria is set, but the international community remains divided on ways forward. CFR's Ed Husain says many questions remain about opposition unity, leadership transition, and whether it will be possible to keep the peace.

See more in Syria

Islam and Politics

Speakers: Isobel Coleman, Ed Husain, and Michael Willis
Presider: Deborah S. Amos

Isobel Coleman, Ed Husain, and Michael Willis discuss the relationship between Islam and politics following the Arab uprisings, including how Islam affects women's and minority rights, democracy, and secularism.

This session was part of a CFR symposium, Implications of the Arab Uprisings, which was made possible by the generous support of Rita E. Hauser, and organized in cooperation with University of Oxford's St. Antony's College.

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Religion

Can China Change?

Minxin Pei interviewed by Christopher Alessi

China faces growing internal and external calls for economic and political reforms. Expert Minxin Pei looks at the political transition under way and discusses prospects for change.

See more in China; Economic Development; Democratization

Darryl G. Behrman Lecture on Africa Policy: A Trip Report: Sudan

Speakers: George Clooney, John Prendergast, Andudu Adam Elnail, and Omer Ismail
Presider: Ann Curry

Following their return from South Sudan with the Enough Project, George Clooney and John Prendergast assess the in-country situation in the year since southern Sudan's independence referendum, with Andudu Adam Elnail, Anglican bishop of Kadugli, Sudan, and Omer Ismail, Darfur activist and senior adviser at the Enough Project.

See more in Sudan; South Sudan; Wars and Warfare