When World War II came to an end, there were only a dozen or so democracies in the world. Today there are 115. Many of the current members of the club joined within the last quarter-century -- a group whose members range from tiny Estonia to enormous Indonesia. The current wave of revolution sweeping through the Middle East is only the latest chapter in a broader global shift toward open societies. This is the story that Foreign Policy's Democracy Lab aims to track.
A partnership between Foreign Policy magazine and the Legatum Institute, Democracy Lab is a unique journalistic effort to cover the political and economic challenges facing countries that are striving to make the transition from authoritarianism to democracy. It's a story that can only be told through a genuinely global prism, incorporating voices from many nations. At the heart of this effort stands our new Transitions blog, a collective report from countries all along the spectrum of change, with regular contributions from reporters around the world.
The channel also features profiles of key political and economic decision-makers in transitional societies, reform case studies, and expert interviews. Democracy Lab Editor Christian Caryl, who has covered many stories of political upheaval during his career as a foreign correspondent for Newsweek and other publications, writes each week about the issues that don't always make it into the news headlines.
Democracy Lab strives to give the complexity of the subject its due by tackling it from myriad angles. Our coverage examines the struggles of dissidents and economic reformers, the push for free elections, and the fight against corruption. Our authors road-test technologies for circumventing dictators and fomenting beneficial social change. We explore theories and realities of revolution, the complexities of political participation, and the life and death of the middle class. While many of our contributors undoubtedly favor democracy to despotism, Democracy Lab has no particular political agenda. Our reporting comes from a range of countries, opinions, and disciplines. We eschew grand abstractions and scholasticism in favor of the practical and concrete.
The story that Democracy Lab follows is one of considerable drama: Just witness the events of the Arab Awakening. Yet it's also a tale that has many possible endings. The triumph of democracy can never be taken as a given.
You can follow our work on Twitter and Facebook and sign up for our RSS feed. You can also subscribe here to the Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, where we'll update you by email on the best of the week's coverage.
About the Partners:
Foreign Policy is the premier, award-winning magazine of global politics, economics, and ideas.
The Legatum Institute is an independent, nonpartisan, public-policy group based in London. Its research, publications, and programs advance ideas and policies in support of free and prosperous societies around the world.
About the Editor:
Christian Caryl is a senior fellow of the Legatum Institute and a contributing editor at Foreign Policy. He has reported from some 50 countries in the course of his career as a foreign correspondent, including stints as a Newsweek bureau chief in Moscow and Tokyo and coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.