Liberal democracy and capitalism have been the two commanding political and economic ideas of Western history since the 19th century. Now, however, the fate of these once-galvanizing global principles is increasingly uncertain.
After the end of the Cold War, however, four structural challenges emerged to endanger the future of democratic capitalism: financial instability, technological disruption, widening social and economic inequality and structural weaknesses in democratic politics. If the West cannot overcome these challenges, they will, over time, spread to the rest of the world and undermine open polities, economies and societies.
Both democracy and capitalism are relatively recent developments in the long history of the West. They represent even more recent developments in the considerably longer history of the East. Both represent the enduring idea of freedom. Yet both rest on increasingly fragile political and economic institutions.