Special to World Economic Forum

Governments seem to be getting poor reviews around much of the globe. In Western and non-Western nations, in the Global South and the Global North, disillusionment with politicians is widespread. Anti-establishment parties are on the rise in many European nations, and Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential race has dramatically highlighted a broad discontent with the status quo in American politics. And, as our surveys at the Pew Research Center have shown, there is also considerable discontent with the way the political system is working in emerging and developing nations as well.

Part of the problem is that people believe their political leaders are out of touch, listening to the few rather than the many. In eight of nine countries we recently polled, more than half said government is run for the benefit of only a few groups in society, not for all people. This finding echoes complaints regularly heard in the US and Europe about distant elites in Washington and Brussels, or the frustration many feel in middle and lower income nations about corrupt officials in their capital cities.

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