Is Trump’s 1776 Commission Report an extremist manifesto?

Trump’s 1776 Commission Report, released on 18 January 2021, puts forward ideas that are designed to give shape and logic to the notions of extremists. It is a dangerous document that provides the façade of a coherent political philosophy to hide, and to disguise, the rising illiberalism in America. The final conclusion is chilling, comparing the contemporary situation in America with previous crises that were resolved by violence and insurrection.

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This time it’s the end of democracy: Fukuyama and big-tech

How to Save Democracy From Technology: Ending Big Tech’s Information Monopoly puts forward a confused and inadequate set of arguments concerning the “gigantic Internet platforms Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter”. Its focus on yesterday’s technological challenges while tomorrow’s threats are almost upon us is disappointing, and misses where the real threat to democracy and individual freedom is beginning to take form.

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How the IMF and World Bank turned a pandemic into a public relations stunt (Walden Bello)

Serious calls for reform at the World Bank and the IMF first emerged 50 years ago. After 50 years, the absence of change in either policy or intellectual paradigm has been paralleled by the glaring lack of reform in the governing structures of the Bretton Woods twins. Perhaps this is the time for developing country governments to begin exploring an exit strategy? The IMF and the Bank would like the global South to believe that they are indispensable. They are not.

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Central Europe map

Voices of Central and Eastern Europe: Perceptions of democracy & governance in 10 EU countries (Globsec)

A survey of Central and Eastern European countries exposes the shallow roots of liberal democracy, with significant numbers indicating that they would trade off democratic freedoms for greater security, welfare, and preservation of traditional values. In only half of surveyed countries would a majority of the respondents choose liberal democracy over an autocratic leader.

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Inequality and repression undermine democracy and market economy worldwide (BTI Transformational Index)

The latest BTI Transformation Index shows that the rule of law and political freedoms are being eroded in an increasing number of democracies, and the number of people who are governed poorly and less democratically is increasing worldwide. The BTI ratings for quality of democracy, market economy and governance have dropped to their lowest level.

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Evgeny Morozov: COVID-19 and the relationship of capitalism, neoliberalism and technology’s ‘solutionism’

In government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, Evgeny Morozov sees a ‘feast of solutionism’ being unleashed. [W]e can see two distinct strands of solutionism in government responses to the pandemic. “Progressive solutionists” propose that timely, app-based exposure to the right information could “nudge” people to behave in the public interest, while “punitive solutionists”, by contrast, want to use surveillance infrastructure to monitor and manage daily activities. The risk, he argues, is that the pandemic will supercharge the solutionist state, … creating an excuse to fill the political vacuum with anti-democratic practices.

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Transparency International: In times like these, transparency matters more than ever

Published by Transparency International on 19 March 2020, this article looks at the importance of transparency as governments around the world face shortages of medical supplies, prioritising of access to medical services, and allocation of relief funds. It is essential that transparency, openness and integrity are maintained and extended across the health sector. It is vital that emergency powers are exercised only for the purposes for which they were granted. Since many normal oversight and

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