At the end of the twentieth century, the advocates of liberal democracy are faced with a strange paradox. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, its ideological ascendancy across the world has never been more complete. Yet, at the same time, voters within the industrialised countries are increasingly disillusioned with the political process. Tarnished by broken promises and widespread sleaze, the present British Conservative government is held in contempt even by its erstwhile supporters. In the recent French presidential elections, the eventual winner - Jacques Chirac - was the first choice of only a fifth of the electorate. In the USA, the situation is even worse. In successive elections, a majority of Americans haven't bothered to vote at all.