Is democracy working for you?

Apr 19 2014
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South Africa suffers from world-beating unemployment, high crime and a poor education system that remains skewed along racial lines, some of which can be attributed to the legacy of apartheid. And while it scores relatively well on democracy, its poor performance in addressing inequality—which is higher than at the end of white-minority rule—and corruption may be more a result of the lack of political will than the state’s capacity, according to the report.

Of all the countries that the Berggruen Institute reviewed, perhaps none has backtracked as much as Brazil in the past decade. Once considered the poster-child of a fast-rising BRICs nation, Brazil’s inequality is rising and GDP per capita was lower last year than in 2010. And the deforestation of the Amazon has reached record levels this year, threatening not just that region but the world’s climate.

“Despite innovations in democratic governance, Brazil has done a poor job of translating its novel systems into effective feedback mechanisms, high democratic engagement or low corruption,” the institute said.

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