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Two core components of liberal democracy - individual rights and the popular will - are increasingly at war with each other. As the role of money in politics soared and important issues were taken out of public contestation, a system of “rights without democracy” took hold. Populists who rail against this say they want to return power to the people. But in practice they create something just as bad: a system of “democracy without rights.”
The consequence, Mounk shows in The People vs. Democracy, is that trust in politics is dwindling. Citizens are falling out of love with their political system. Democracy is wilting away. Drawing on vivid stories and original research, Mounk identifies three key drivers of voters’ discontent: stagnating living standards, fears of multiethnic democracy, and the rise of social media. To reverse the trend, politicians need to enact radical reforms that benefit the many, not the few.
The People vs. Democracy is the first book to go beyond a mere description of the rise of populism. In plain language, it describes both how we got here and where we need to go. For those unwilling to give up on either individual rights or the popular will, Mounk shows, there is little time to waste: this may be our last chance to save democracy.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Lazer L. Lazer on 07-02-18
a must read in the new age of political populism
excellent read, super relevant. research based. narration was decent, not great. audio quality was not superb. Yascha Mounk is a treasure. his podcast "the good fight" expands on many of the points touched on in The People vs. Democracy. this should be required reading for all lovers of liberty.
By DailyShopper on 06-07-18
Not worth it
I am sorry, but at least three times I wished I could get my money back. A political bashing book without any in depth knowledge. Only the writers personal political beliefs, with less interest than watching 10 hours of MSNBC. Of little academic value. Pass. one star because of conclusion was ok.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Lawrence McKay on 07-12-18
Well-argued, readable book with some overclaiming
A topical and well-researched book with a strong central thesis and stirring defence of liberal democracy. I thought he brought a lot of impressive data to the table, although readers should note that some of the core findings, especially re: millennials turning away from democracy, have been questioned. I liked that it discussed populism/authoritarianism as a global phenomenon and looked at a variety of countries such as South Korea and Poland. But there were some sections that were a touch weak, to my mind. Mounk goes against almost the entirety of the literature on Trump's election to date to argue the fault is equally shared between 'nativism' and economic factors - but brings very little in the way of compelling evidence in support of this. Overall, the book is well-worth reading - even if it sometimes over-states its case. It's contributing to some important conversations. But I would suggest reading some of the criticism of the book and also listening to the Ezra Klein podcasts where he grills Mounk about some of the arguments.