A “Decline Of Dictators” (Like A “Murder Of Crows”): The World Closes In On Autocrats

Barry Gander
7 min readJun 2

We are heading into the final chapter of the history of the autocrats, who we can now collectively label as a ‘Decline of Dictators’.

Much like phrases like ‘A Murder of Crows’ or ‘A Conspiracy of Ravens’, “decline” works well for today’s autocrats.

Dictators are in trouble. There are only two left, in fact, who are of world-projecting power: the leaders of China and Russia. Xi’s bumbling of Covid and labor relations have exploded riots in China from pro-democracy demonstrators, and Putin has felt the same tremors. In other countries around the world, the percentage of power under the rule of dictators has shrunk from a majority under authoritarian rule to three-quarters under democratic rule. Considering that Russia only makes up 1% of global GDP, the major share of the dictatorship pile consists of China. And China’s influence is fading as its population shrinks and its economy gets overtaken by the democracy of India. The U.S., of course, is still king of the hill, has managed to duck the Trump bullet and still remains a democracy.

Democracies are winning this long-term war for the simple reason that they can satisfy their citizens. Democratic economies grow much faster, invent more products, supply more people, and deliver better wages. And in an era of the global Internet, most people are aware of this.

It’s so easy to focus on the passing parade of politics — on the rise of the neo-fascist DeSantis in Florida or the Imams in Iran — and to miss the changing of the seasons as the parade goes by. It is not winter anymore, with humanity struggling in caves to exist; it is coming on Spring, with new potential for everyone.

The driving reason is a factor that people reading an article like this may not consider: the fact that you can read it.

Around the world, for most of history, few people had that privilege.

When most people can read — as was the case in American before the Revolution — a country tends to switch from non-democracy to democracy. Democracies…

Barry Gander

A Canadian from Connecticut: 2 strikes against me! I'm a top writer, looking for the Meaning under the headlines. Follow me on Mastodon @Barry