The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It

By Yascha Mounk

The world is in turmoil. From India to Turkey and from Poland to the United States, authoritarian populists have seized power. As a result, Yascha Mounk shows, democracy itself may now be at risk.

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.

The People vs. Democracy provides an acute analysis of the rise in populist nationalism and the challenges to democracy in our time. If you've not heard of Yascha Mounk before, you definitely will in the future.--Francis Fukuyama, Stanford University


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ISBN: 9780674976825

About the Hardcover

Publisher Harvard University Press
Publish date 03/05/2018
Pages 400
ISBN-13 9780674976825
ISBN-10 0674976827
Language English

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