The Future of Democracy

Ivan Krastev

October 2019 Proposal in English Original publisher: UK: Penguin Press

On behalf of: Toby Mundy Associates

In this short book ‘one of the great European minds of today’ (Timothy Synder) analyses the most profound political question facing the western world: how will sweeping demographic change affect democracy?

In a democracy, numbers matter. We used to believe that democratic power changes hands when people change their minds. But what if power instead shifts with population changes, when newcomers with different ethnic, cultural or political identities enter the
body politic?

Ivan Krastev argues that the greatest transformation Western democracies will face in the twenty-first century is intense demographic change, driven by ageing populations and mass migration. The Future of Democracy examines how democracies will survive the transfer of power from an old and relatively homogenous majority to a racially and culturally diverse one.

Krastev describes how past demographic change has influenced politics, including the broadening of the franchise at the end of the US Civil War to include African Americans; the unification of Germany in the 1990s; and the emigration of over a million Soviet Jews to Israel in the late 1980s. He uses these examples to demonstrate that when faced with major demographic change within their electorates, threatened majorities find it very hard to resist trying to re-write the rules of the political game.