Lack of democracy Erosion of democratic principles Democratic deficit
Since 1989, some 30% of the world's population has experienced a shift away from authoritarian rule. In 1992 Freedom House rated 75 states "free", 73 "partially free" and 38 "not free". It also lists 99 formal democracies (of which 23 were rated "partly free" and one "not free"), 31 hybrid authoritarian regimes making some gestures towards democracy, and a residue consisting largely of Communist and military regimes and feudal Middle Eastern kingdoms.
In many countries, policies are adapted to serve the needs of multinational corporations, frequently undermining stable communities, unpolluted environments and dignified employment. Governement dependence on corporate contributions becomes the determining factor in many elections, thus undermining the ability of governments to respond to the needs of people.
Since the most ancient times, the world's greatest thinkers have spoken out in favour of stable social orders based on democracy. Virtually all the great thinkers of the modern world regard freedom and equality as the indispensible foundations of democracy.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.