The paper deals with the political consequences of the globalization process. It is not clear yet whether this trend is bringing about a structural change in the economy, but it certainly raises new questions on the role of politics. Since the seventies, the decline of the "fordist" organisation of production and the fast increase in international trade, foreign investments and international financial transactions weakened the role of the state in the regulation of economy and society. The Keynesian orthodoxy was replaced by the neo-liberal ideology. Traditional distinctions between parties blurred. The welfare state is under attack while social inequalities are rising and confidence in parties and democratic institutions is decreasing. What are the consequences of these trends for representative democracy? Are democratic institutions facing one of the usual ideological and political cycles or are we witnessing a radical change in the nature of democracy?