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Can Capitalism Safeguard Democracy?

2024 Global Conference

Can Capitalism Safeguard Democracy?

Tuesday, May 7, 2024
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDT

As the Berlin Wall collapsed and the Cold War ended, the theory that free markets produced free people reached its zenith. As countries become richer and markets freer, the story went, the more likely it was that democracy would emerge and take hold. Far from capitalism being its own gravedigger, as Marx had predicted, the creative destruction of markets guarded against the concentration of unearned power. More recently though, political upheavals in numerous countries have led some to warn that liberal democracy could be a phase more than a destination. As evidence, they point to the rise of the populist backlash by those who feel pushed aside by more favored—and more diverse—groups, and economically excluded by, in their eyes, the rent-seeking, financially privileged. For western societies to secure liberal democracy as a governing philosophy, we must examine the written and unwritten rules of how it should gain and keep the consent of those it governs. This panel brings together thinkers, writers, and policymakers at the forefront of the debate of what liberal democracy is and what we must do to preserve it. 

Matthew Bishop
Chairman, Global Impact Leaders, Sorenson Institute
Daniella Ballou-Aares
CEO and Co-Founder, Leadership Now Project
Hein De Haas
Director, International Migration Institute; Author, "How Migration Really Works”
María Teresa Kumar
President and CEO, Voto Latino
Armen Sarkissian
Fourth President of Republic of Armenia; Chairman, ATOM
Lucan Way
Distinguished Professor of Democracy, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto