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Problems of Democracies The central thesis of the assignment was that the Trilateral democracies were becoming overloaded by increasingly insistent demands from an ever-expanding array of participants raising fundamental issues of governability Within that common framework the some authors offered somewhat distinct diagnoses of the problems facing their respective regions In Europe you can see the upwelling of social mobilization the collapse of traditional institutions and values the resulting loss of social control and governments limited room for acting America was absorbed by a democratic surge that had produced political polarization demands for more equality and participation and less effective political parties and government So the cure for it was to restore the balance between democracy and governability By contrast Japan did not face problems of excessive democracy thanks in part to rapid economic growth and in part to its larger reservoir of traditional values Whatever the regional and national nuances however the authors sketched a grim outlook for democracy in the Trilateral countries delegitimated leadership expanded demands overloaded government political competition that was both intensified and fragmented and public pressures leading to nationalistic parochialism In historical perspective the sense of crisis that permeated The Crisis of Democracy may have reflected the confluence of two factors first the surge of radical political activism that swept the advanced industrial democracies in the 1960s which began with the civil rights and antiwar movements in United States and had the effect in the events of May 1968 in France Italys Hot Autumn later that year and student upheavals in Japan and second the economic upheavals triggered by the oil crisis of 1973-74 that were to result in more than a decade of higher inflation slower growth and in many countries worsening unemployment The Trilateral governments were thus trapped between rising demands from citizens and declining resources to meet those demands Moreover the legitimacy of governments was suspect in the eyes of a generation whose motto was
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