While global faith in democracy remains strong, a new global survey commissioned by the Open Society Foundations finds that there may be growing acceptance of authoritarian systems of government in the younger generations.
The survey was conducted across 30 countries around the world and is representative of 5.5 billion people.
In the forward of the study, the authors note the “disturbing finding” that there exists a stark correlation between age group and the likelihood of believing that an authoritarian style of government is a good way of running a country.
Among those over 56 years old, one-fifth answered that “army rule” is a good way of running a country. The proportion of those who believe the same is even higher among those aged 36-55, of whom a full third agreed. That proportion only continues to grow among the younger generation.
Among those aged 18-35, 42% said army rule is a good way of running a country.
The same pattern occurred among those who felt that having a leader who does not bother with a parliament or elections is a good way of running a country.
In the eldest category, 26% agreed, in the middle category, 32% agreed, and in the youngest category, 35% agreed.
Americans more in favor of an authoritarian governmental system than many others
The differences between those nationalities more inclined towards authoritarian governments did not appear to be strictly based on traditional divides of East-West or affluent-impoverished.
For instance, Kenyan respondents were less likely to agree than American respondents that either army rule, or a leader who does not bother with a parliament or elections, is a good way of running a country.
Still, despite those who felt an authoritarian system of government was a good way to run a country, a strong global majority maintains faith in democratic systems.
Additionally, at 70%, the proportion of Americans who see human rights as a force for good in the world was below the global average of 72%.
Additionally, Americans were below the global average in regard to their level of concern on issues related to climate change as per the questions presented by the survey.