How to counter a growing sense of public “helplessness” toward global problems

Tobias Bunde comments in Project Syndicate ahead of the Munich Security Conference.

New data from public opinion surveys in an index prepared for the annual Munich Security Report shows people around the globe feel increasingly “helpless” about the ability of governments to tackle big international problems like climate change.

Tobias Bunde, postdoctoral researcher at the Hertie School’s Centre for International Security. assesses this finding in an opinion piece published on 14 February in Project Syndicate.

“In the eyes of many citizens, politicians seem far from getting a grip on today’s urgent problems and steering the world away from catastrophe,” he writes. Democratic governments have to counter this by showing “that they can deliver.”

“Notwithstanding all the angst about the future of democracy, Munich Security Index data also show that people still think democracies are better able than undemocratic countries to solve the problems of the future. Now they need to prove it,” he says.

The Munich Security Report is published annually ahead of the Munich Security Conference, a leading forum on international security, held in Munich every year since 1963. Its chairman is Wolfgang Ischinger, Senior Professor of Security Policy and Diplomatic Practice at the Hertie School and Founding Director of the school’s Centre for International Security. The Conference takes place this year from 18 to 20 February.

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More about the expert

  • Tobias Bunde, Senior Researcher, Centre for International Security