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"Is it meaningful to call oneself a democrat? And if so, how do you interpret the word?"In responding to this question, eight iconoclastic thinkers prove the rich potential of democracy, along with its critical weaknesses, and reconceive the practice to accommodate new political and cultural realities. Giorgio Agamben traces the tense history of constitutions and their coexistence with various governments. Alain Badiou contrasts current democratic practice with democratic communism. Daniel Bensaid ponders the institutionalization of democracy, while Wendy Brown discusses the democratization of society under neoliberalism. Jean-Luc Nancy measures the difference between democracy as a form of rule and as a human end, and Jacques Rancière highlights its egalitarian nature. Kristin Ross identifies hierarchical relationships within democratic practice, and Slavoj i ek complicates the distinction between those who desire to own the state and those who wish to do without it. Concentrating on the classical roots of democracy and its changing meaning over time and within different contexts, these essays uniquely defend what is left of the left-wing tradition after the fall of Soviet communism. They confront disincentives to active democratic participation that have caused voter turnout to decline in western countries, and they address electoral indifference by invoking and reviving the tradition of citizen involvement. Passionately written and theoretically rich, this collection speaks to all facets of modern political and democratic debate.
Democracy is struggling in America--by now this statement is almost cliché. But what if the country is no longer a democracy at all? In Democracy Incorporated, Sheldon Wolin considers the unthinkable: has America unwittingly morphed into a new and strange kind of political hybrid, one where economic and state powers are conjoined and virtually unbridled? Can the nation check its descent into what the author terms "inverted totalitarianism"? Wolin portrays a country where citizens are politically uninterested and submissive--and where elites are eager to keep them that way. At best the nation has become a "managed democracy" where the public is shepherded, not sovereign. At worst it is a place where corporate power no longer answers to state controls. Wolin makes clear that today's America is in no way morally or politically comparable to totalitarian states like Nazi Germany, yet he warns that unchecked economic power risks verging on total power and has its own unnerving pathologies. Wolin examines the myths and mythmaking that justify today's politics, the quest for an ever-expanding economy, and the perverse attractions of an endless war on terror. He argues passionately that democracy's best hope lies in citizens themselves learning anew to exercise power at the local level. Democracy Incorporated is one of the most worrying diagnoses of America's political ills to emerge in decades. It is sure to be a lightning rod for political debate for years to come.In a new preface, Wolin describes how the Obama administration, despite promises of change, has left the underlying dynamics of managed democracy intact.
Democracy is struggling in America--by now this statement is almost cliche. But what if the country is no longer a democracy at all? In Democracy Incorporated, Sheldon Wolin considers the unthinkable: has America unwittingly morphed into a new and strange kind of political hybrid, one where economic and state powers are conjoined and virtually unbridled? Can the nation check its descent into what the author terms "inverted totalitarianism"? Wolin portrays a country where citizens are politically uninterested and submissive--and where elites are eager to keep them that way. At best the nation has become a "managed democracy" where the public is shepherded, not sovereign. At worst it is a place where corporate power no longer answers to state controls. Wolin makes clear that today's America is in no way morally or politically comparable to totalitarian states like Nazi Germany, yet he warns that unchecked economic power risks verging on total power and has its own unnerving pathologies. Wolin examines the myths and mythmaking that justify today's politics, the quest for an ever-expanding economy, and the perverse attractions of an endless war on terror. He argues passionately that democracy's best hope lies in citizens themselves learning anew to exercise power at the local level. Democracy Incorporated is one of the most worrying diagnoses of America's political ills to emerge in decades. It is sure to be a lightning rod for political debate for years to come. In a new preface, Wolin describes how the Obama administration, despite promises of change, has left the underlying dynamics of managed democracy intact.
In this comparative, historical survey of three East-Asian democracies, Jong-sung You explores the correlation between inequality and corruption in the countries of South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines. Drawing on a wealth of rich empirical research, he illustrates the ways in which economic inequality can undermine democratic accountability, thereby increasing the risk of clientelism and capture. Transcending the scope of corruption research beyond economic growth, this book surveys why some countries, like the Philippines, have failed to curb corruption and develop, whilst others such as South Korea and Taiwan have been more successful. Taking into account factors such as the success and failure of land reform, variations in social structure, and industrial policy, Jong-sung You provides a sound example of how comparative analysis can be employed to identify causal direction and mechanisms in political science.
WELCOME TO THE MURKY WORLD OF POLITICAL DONATIONS. Big business, eccentric loners, lobbyists, fraudsters, senior trade unionists, and dodgy wheeler-dealers have all been rubbing shoulders with the most senior politicians in the country and they often expect something in return for their money. Now, in this blistering exposé, investigative journalist Bobby Friedman reveals how upstanding party treasurers and cabinet ministers have been turned into desperate courters of the rich. Discover the truth behind the toxic system where money buys you access and trade union power is king. Understand why you re more likely to become a peer if you ve donated to a political party and how foreign multi-millionaires can use shell companies and subterfuge to gain entry to the locked doors of Westminster. Informed by interviews with wealthy donors and key political figures, and packed with shocking revelations, this enthralling book exposes who is really pulling the strings in British government.
Cornel West's audacious and hard-hitting sequel to his major bestseller and contemporary classic, Race Matters, is a brilliant and deeply moving call for the revival of our better democratic nature. Praised by The New York Times for his "ferocious moral vision," West returns to the analysis of what he calls the arrested development of democracy with a masterful diagnosis. He points to the rise of three antidemocratic dogmas that are rendering the energy of American democracy impotent-a callous free-market fundamentalism, an aggressive militarism, and an insidious authoritarianism -and argues that racism and imperial bullying have gone hand in hand in our country's inexorable drive toward world dominance (our current militaristic excesses). This impassioned and empowering call for the revitalization of America's democracy, by one of our most distinctive and compelling social critics, will reshape the raging national debate about America's role in today's troubled world.
In his major bestseller, Race Matters, philosopher Cornel West burst onto the national scene with his searing analysis of the scars of racism in American democracy. Race Matters has become a contemporary classic, still in print after ten years, having sold more than four hundred thousand copies. A mesmerizing speaker with a host of fervidly devoted fans, West gives as many as one hundred public lectures a year and appears regularly on radio and television. Praised by The New York Times for his "ferocious moral vision" and hailed by Newsweek as "an elegant prophet with attitude," he bridges the gap between black and white opinion about the country's problems. In Democracy Matters, West returns to the analysis of the arrested development of democracy-both in America and in the crisis-ridden Middle East. In a strikingly original diagnosis, he argues that if America is to become a better steward of democratization around the world, we must first wake up to the long history of imperialist corruption that has plagued our own democracy. Both our failure to foster peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the crisis of Islamist anti-Americanism stem largely from hypocrisies in our dealings with the world. Racism and imperial expansionism have gone hand in hand in our country's inexorable drive toward hegemony, and our current militarism is only the latest expression of that drive. Even as we are shocked by Islamic fundamentalism, our own brand of fundamentalism, which West dubs Constantinian Christianity, has joined forces with imperialist corporate and political elites in an unholy alliance, and four decades after the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. , insidious racism still inflicts debilitating psychic pain on so many of our citizens. But there is a deep democratic tradition in America of impassioned commitment to the fight against imperialist corruptions-the last great expression of which was the civil rights movement led by Dr. King-and West brings forth the powerful voices of that great democratizing tradition in a brilliant and deeply moving call for the revival of our better democratic nature. His impassioned and provocative argument for the revitalization of America's democracy will reshape the terms of the raging national debate about America's role in today's troubled world. .
Why do American political reform efforts so often fail to solve the problems they intend to fix? In this book, Bruce E. Cain argues that the reasons are an unrealistic civic ideal of a fully informed and engaged citizenry and a neglect of basic pluralist principles about political intermediaries. This book traces the tension between populist and pluralist approaches as it plays out in many seemingly distinct reform topics, such as voting administration, campaign finance, excessive partisanship, redistricting, and transparency and voter participation. It explains why political primaries have promoted partisan polarization, why voting rates are declining even as election opportunities increase, and why direct democracy is not really a grassroots tool. Cain offers a reform agenda that attempts to reconcile pluralist ideals with the realities of collective-action problems and resource disparities.
A bold rethinking of the most powerful political idea in the world--democracy--and the story of how radical democracy can yet transform America Democracy has been the American religion since before the Revolution--from New England town halls to the multicultural democracy of Atlantic pirate ships. But can our current political system, one that seems responsive only to the wealthiest among us and leaves most Americans feeling disengaged, voiceless, and disenfranchised, really be called democratic? And if the tools of our democracy are not working to solve the rising crises we face, how can we--average citizens--make change happen? David Graeber, one of the most influential scholars and activists of his generation, takes readers on a journey through the idea of democracy, provocatively reorienting our understanding of pivotal historical moments, and extracts their lessons for today--from the birth of Athenian democracy and the founding of the United States of America to the global revolutions of the twentieth century and the rise of a new generation of activists. Underlying it all is a bracing argument that in the face of increasingly concentrated wealth and power in this country, a reenergized, reconceived democracy--one based on consensus, equality, and broad participation--can yet provide us with the just, free, and fair society we want. The Democracy Project tells the story of the resilience of the democratic spirit and the adaptability of the democratic idea. It offers a fresh take on vital history and an impassioned argument that radical democracy is, more than ever, our best hope.Praise for David Graeber's Debt "A sprawling, erudite, provocative work."--Drake Bennett, Bloomberg Businessweek "Written in a brash, engaging style, the book is also a philosophical inquiry into the nature of debt--where it came from and how it evolved."--The New York Times Book Review "Fresh . . . fascinating . . . thought-provoking [and] exceedingly timely."--Financial Times "The book is more readable and entertaining than I can indicate. . . . Graeber is a scholarly researcher, an activist and a public intellectual. His field is the whole history of social and economic transactions."--Peter Carey, The Observer "One of the year's most influential books. Graeber situates the emergence of credit within the rise of class society, the destruction of societies based on 'webs of mutual commitment' and the constantly implied threat of physical violence that lies behind all social relations based on money."--Paul Mason, The Guardian "Part anthropological history and part provocative political argument, it's a useful corrective to what passes for contemporary conversation about debt and the economy."--Jesse Singal, The Boston Globe "Terrific . . . In the best anthropological tradition, he helps us reset our everyday ideas by exploring history and other civilizations, then boomeranging back to render our own world strange, and more open to change."--Raj Patel, The Globe and Mail
The Democracy Sourcebook offers a collection of classic writings and contemporary scholarship on democracy, creating a book that can be used by undergraduate and graduate students in a wide variety of courses, including American politics.
A political science text for the 21st Century, DEMOCRACY UNDER PRESSURE has provided well over a million students with a comprehensive look at the fundamentals of American Government. Milton Cummings, a respected scholar and academic, and David Wise, a best selling author and political analyst, bring their talents to bear on a text that conveys a balanced, realistic guide to American politics while describing the institutions of American government.
Democracy's Edge is a rousing call to join groundbreaking individuals--to act now to reclaim the very heart and soul of American democracy.
The last thirty years have witnessed one of the most remarkable developments in history: the rapid rise of democracy around the world. In 1900, only ten countries were democracies and by 1975 there were only 30. Today, 119 of the world's 190 countries have adopted this form of government, and it is by far the most celebrated and prestigious one. How did democracy acquire its good name? Why did it spread so far and so fast? Why do important countries remain undemocratic? And why do efforts to export democracy so often fail and even make conditions worse? InDemocracy's Good Name, Michael Mandelbaum, one of America's leading foreign policy thinkers, answers these questions. He surveys the methods and risks of promoting democracy, and analyzes the prospects for the establishment of democratic governments in Russia, China, and the Arab world. Written in Mandelbaum's clear and accessible style,Democracy's Good Namepresents a lucid, comprehensive, and surprising account of the history and future of democracy from the American Revolution to the occupation of Iraq.
Authored by the longest serving US Supreme Court Justice in current history, this brief essay addresses political issues that were relevent during the early 1960's. Douglas is highly weary of communism and argues that a Free Society can be achievable for all nations.
Wong (political science, American studies and ethnicity, U. of Southern California) finds inclusion an integral part of the ongoing American experiment with democracy. She examines the demographic and political trends that have come from the most recent waves of immigrants who have turned to citizenship as part of their personal experiment with American-style democracy, and analyzes the ways in which immigrant citizens have become part of their local as well as national community when they were expected to be the least likely to develop activist behaviors. Concentrating on Chinese and Mexican immigrant citizens through extensive interviews in New York City and Los Angeles, and finding that voting is often the only way in which minorities can exercise legitimate political power, she uses her findings to describe how civic institutions can and should understand the political needs of immigrants. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
In a series of fascinating essays that explore topics in American politics from the nation's founding to the present day , The Democratic Experiment opens up exciting new avenues for historical research while offering bold claims about the tensions that have animated American public life. Revealing the fierce struggles that have taken place over the role of the federal government and the character of representative democracy, the authors trace the contested and dynamic evolution of the national polity.The contributors, who represent the leading new voices in the revitalized field of American political history, offer original interpretations of the nation's political past by blending methodological insights from the new institutionalism in the social sciences and studies of political culture. They tackle topics as wide-ranging as the role of personal character of political elites in the Early Republic, to the importance of courts in building a modern regulatory state, to the centrality of local political institutions in the late twentieth century. Placing these essays side by side encourages the asking of new questions about the forces that have shaped American politics over time. An unparalleled example of the new political history in action, this book will be vastly influential in the field.In addition to the editors, the contributors are Brian Balogh, Sven Beckert, Rebecca Edwards, Joanne B. Freeman, Richard R. John, Ira Katznelson, James T. Kloppenberg, Matthew D. Lassiter, Thomas J. Sugrue, Michael Vorenberg, and Michael Willrich.
The American political reformer Herbert Croly wrote, "For better or worse, democracy cannot be disentangled from an aspiration toward human perfectibility." Democratic Faith is at once a trenchant analysis and a powerful critique of this underlying assumption that informs democratic theory. Patrick Deneen argues that among democracy's most ardent supporters there is an oft-expressed belief in the need to "transform" human beings in order to reconcile the sometimes disappointing reality of human self-interest with the democratic ideal of selfless commitment. This "transformative impulse" is frequently couched in religious language, such as the need for political "redemption." This is all the more striking given the frequent accompanying condemnation of traditional religious belief that informs the "democratic faith." At the same time, because so often this democratic ideal fails to materialize, democratic faith is often subject to a particularly intense form of disappointment. A mutually reinforcing cycle of faith and disillusionment is frequently exhibited by those who profess a democratic faith- in effect imperiling democratic commitments due to the cynicism of its most fervent erstwhile supporters. Deneen argues that democracy is ill-served by such faith. Instead, he proposes a form of "democratic realism" that recognizes democracy not as a regime with aspirations to perfection, but that justifies democracy as the regime most appropriate for imperfect humans. If democratic faith aspires to transformation, democratic realism insists on the central importance of humility, hope, and charity.
For more than a generation this concise survey has been the classic introduction to the fundamental ideas and structure of Canadian government and the practice of democracy in this country. It examines the various elements of federal government -- the House of Commons, the cabinet, the Senate, the monarchy and governor-general, the public service, and the courts -- and of provincial and municipal governments, and explores their interrelationships.In this new edition Norman Ward has incorporated the many changes in government since his last revision in 1971.
Why are democracies pursuing more military conflicts, but achieving worse results? Democratic Militarism shows that a combination of economic inequality and military technical change enables an average voter to pay very little of the costs of large militaries and armed conflict, in terms of both death and taxes. Jonathan Caverley provides an original statistical analysis of public opinion and international aggression, combined with historical evidence from the late Victorian British Empire, the US Vietnam War effort, and Israel's Second Lebanon War. This book undermines conventional wisdom regarding democracy's exceptional foreign policy characteristics, and challenges elite-centered explanations for poor foreign policy. This accessible and wide ranging book offers a new account of democratic warfare, and will help readers to understand the implications of the revolution in military affairs.
A report from the International Monetary Fund.
Daunting challenges lie ahead for Arab countries where revolutions have upended longstanding authoritarian regimes. This monograph aims to help policymakers understand the challenges ahead, form well-founded expectations, shape diplomatic approaches, and take practical steps to foster positive change.
DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans uncovers the truth about how corporations have bought the American electoral and legislative process through the power of lobbyists, campaign contributions, and political action committees. Using historical details, such as the development of the two-party system and the advent of third-party candidates throughout U.S. history, DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans exposes how the two major parties have allowed corporations, businesses, and politically-motivated wealthy individuals to manipulate elections, bribe elected officials, and silence the average American voter. Exposing the ineptitude and gang-like mentalities of both parties, Ventura advocates the replacement of the two-party system with a no-party system based on the ideals of our Founding Fathers. As election time rolls around, this is most certainly the book that should be looked at for reforming our electoral system.
A report on the statistics of blindness from an international point of view.
Most of the world's blindness could be prevented, and the attack on it and its consequences proceeds apace through such organizations as the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, and the World Health Organization. For greatest effectiveness, their programs must be based upon accurate data, as a WHO study quoted here by Dr. Goldstein makes clear: "In order to establish appropriate priorities for prevention and treatment at the national and international level, it is essential that reliable up-to-date statistical data on prevalence, age of onset, and causes of blindness be obtained." But even in the United States, where collection of data on blindness began in 1830, there are still no reliable trend data. In much of the rest of the world data are fragmentary, and data that would allow valid country by country comparisons are almost non-existent. Dr. Goldstein has done a valuable service in pulling together such statistics as can be found, and in discussing their weaknesses and strengths.
This book provides a fresh perspective on the population history of Italy during the late Republic. It employs a range of sources and a multidisciplinary approach to investigate demographic trends and the demographic behaviour of Roman citizens. Dr Hin shows how they adapted to changing economic, climatic and social conditions in a period of intense conquest. Her critical evaluation of the evidence on the demographic toll taken by warfare and rising societal complexity leads her to a revisionist 'middle count' scenario of population development in Italy. In tracing the population history of an ancient conquest society, she provides an accessible pathway into Roman demography which focuses on the three main demographic parameters - mortality, fertility and migration. She unites literary and epigraphic sources with demographic theory, archaeological surveys, climatic and skeletal evidence, models and comparative data. Tables, figures and maps enable readers to visualise the quantitative dynamics at work.