Repression can incite greater disorder within a region and export violence to other places. Instead, to heal a society of epidemic violence requires the middle class helped by social organizers and politicians willing to make deals.
Decivilization can happen anywhere when violence becomes regularized. However, recovery is possible when complicit states reform and regular people, especially the middle class, address the violence and disorder in their communities.
Getting on the road to recivilization requires fixing violent and corrupt systems. Such reform can shift the incentives on the ground and may provide an opportunity for deeper change in society.
While the road out of today’s extreme political polarization in the United States isn’t obvious, adopting reforms like ranked choice voting could reduce polarization and better represent the will of the people.
Highly unequal societies are some of the most violent places on earth. Recovery requires an attentive middle class and politicians willing to make deals.
The distinction between political and criminal violence is not as stark as many think. When governments become complicit with violence these distinctions begin to blur.
Really violent places can get better, but it is not an easy path.
Although the world is witnessing the degradation of democracies and some political leaders flouting the rule of law, none of the projected outcomes are inevitable.
The United States has fallen behind in women’s political representation, but some European practices may offer a solution.
The United States has become a plutocracy, where wealth buys political power. This threatens to erode U.S. democratic institutions and U.S. global influence.