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How Democracy Ends de David Runciman
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How Democracy Ends (edició 2019)

de David Runciman (Autor)

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1162186,969 (3.31)No n'hi ha cap
How will democracy end? And what will replace it? A preeminent political scientist examines the past, present, and future of an endangered political philosophy Since the end of World War II, democracy's sweep across the globe seemed inexorable. Yet today, it seems radically imperiled, even in some of the world's most stable democracies. How bad could things get? In How Democracy Ends, David Runciman argues that we are trapped in outdated twentieth-century ideas of democratic failure. By fixating on coups and violence, we are focusing on the wrong threats. Our societies are too affluent, too elderly, and too networked to fall apart as they did in the past. We need new ways of thinking the unthinkable--a twenty-first-century vision of the end of democracy, and whether its collapse might allow us to move forward to something better. A provocative book by a major political philosopher, How Democracy Ends asks the most trenchant questions that underlie the disturbing patterns of our contemporary political life.… (més)
Membre:JonBradley
Títol:How Democracy Ends
Autors:David Runciman (Autor)
Informació:Profile Books (2019), Edition: Main, 256 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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How Democracy Ends de David Runciman

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The short book version of a talk, that comes from a podcast, that I couldn't wait to read. ****, I'm a parody.
  thenumeraltwo | Feb 9, 2020 |
Not with a bang but with a whimper. Somewhat impressive to predict that the American coup wouldn’t be military, but rather would be from the civilian side. Runciman argues that democracy can rot even when there are regular elections, independent courts, and a free press, though I think he understates just how nondemocratic the US is in electoral terms—not just the Electoral College, but felony disenfranchisement combined with racist distribution of who gets convicted of felonies, gerrymandering, voter ID, closing polling places and purging voters who move often (and are thus more likely to be poor), the fact that North Dakota gets the same number of senators as California, etc. “The battles to expand the franchise have been largely fought and won” seems to me vastly too optimistic. I have to believe that elections conducted under different circumstances would be a lot freer and fairer.

Also, at this point, I can’t agree that violence merely “stalks the fringes of our politics and the recesses of our imaginations, without ever arriving centre stage” when the POTUS praises a representative for assaulting a journalist. Even if most of the violence that Trump talks about is imaginary, it’s not in the recesses but in the contolling obsessions of our minds, and it has real effects. I think his position on this is not unrelated to his presentation of the Trump vote as being about education—“Whether or not someone went to college is a more significant determination of how they are likely to vote than age, class or gender.” Notice any salient characteristic missing? Runciman doesn’t seem to want to get too caught up in race, because American racism is so distinctive and he also wants to talk about Brexit and Macron, but I think that’s a mistake. He’s more persuasive with a slightly different take late in the book: there’s still plenty of violence, but it’s tailored to particular groups and not noticed by most not directly subjected to it, a situation that suits those inflicting the violence just fine. “At the same time, the shadow of some unspeakably violent cataclysm hangs ove the entire country…. One false move and we could all be dead. Trump embodies this phenomenon. He deals in two kinds of political violence: the low-level, attritional variety that manifests in personal abuse; and the threat of nuclear Armageddon.”

Runciman also argues that the catastrophes we now face, like climate change, have paralyzed rather than mobilized us (contrast WWII), partially because of the dangerous affordances of new information technology. Runciman is trying to diagnose multiple societies, though, and he points out that Greece might be a more standard example—still much richer than it was when it was under military rule, and also much more elderly, both of which make violence/government collapse less likely. “One reason its high youth unemployment has not proved more destabilising is that there simply aren’t that many young people in Greece any more.” A military coup is unlikely, but what has arguably occurred is a different, secretive coup—control by the international financiers who benefit from keeping Greece immiserated. Those kinds of coups don’t want or depend on troops in the streets; they benefit from being hidden—things just don’t work the way they used to, and it’s not clear why or who if anyone could change the situation, and people who say democracy isn’t working are accused of hysteria and of being just another special interest group, or told to calm down by anonymous plotters in the NYT editorial pages.

When Runciman discusses the alternatives to democracy, he doesn’t find any that are more appealing. I liked his analysis about the way in which authoritarian regimes try to offer personal (economic) benefits plus collective (ethnonationalist or nationalist) dignity, as opposed to democracy’s personal dignity through equal citizenship and collective benefits in overall economic growth. I did not follow him when he argued that mature democracies with stagnant wages hadn’t really turned against democracy because voters haven’t endorsed “anyone threatening to take away their democratic rights,” they’re only excited by the prospect of taking away the rights of “people who don’t belong.” Pretty sure that’s what many democratic destructions look like. Ultimately, though, I agree that while democracy may not be the least worst form of politics, it’s the best of the possibilities when the government is at its worst. “More fires get started in a democracy, Tocqueville said, but more fires get put out, too.” ( )
1 vota rivkat | Sep 26, 2018 |
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"How Democracy Ends is a wonderful read and contains much good sense."
afegit per ndara | editaThe Guardian (UK), Mark Mazower (Jun 21, 2018)
 
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How will democracy end? And what will replace it? A preeminent political scientist examines the past, present, and future of an endangered political philosophy Since the end of World War II, democracy's sweep across the globe seemed inexorable. Yet today, it seems radically imperiled, even in some of the world's most stable democracies. How bad could things get? In How Democracy Ends, David Runciman argues that we are trapped in outdated twentieth-century ideas of democratic failure. By fixating on coups and violence, we are focusing on the wrong threats. Our societies are too affluent, too elderly, and too networked to fall apart as they did in the past. We need new ways of thinking the unthinkable--a twenty-first-century vision of the end of democracy, and whether its collapse might allow us to move forward to something better. A provocative book by a major political philosopher, How Democracy Ends asks the most trenchant questions that underlie the disturbing patterns of our contemporary political life.

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