Beta
X

15Aug

Democracy for Sale by Peter Geoghegan review – the end of politics as we know it?

The openDemocracy journalist delves into the web of power, money and data manipulation that is bringing our electoral system to its knees

As we try to face the future, we are usually fighting the last war, not the one that’s coming next. One of the most striking points the political philosopher David Runciman made in his seminal book How Democracy Ends was that democracies don’t fail backwards: they fail forward. That’s why those who see in the current difficulties of liberal democracies the stirrings of past monsters – Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, to name just three – are always looking in the wrong place. And if that’s true, the key question for us at this moment in history is: how might our current system fail? What will bring it down?

The answer, it turns out, has been hiding in plain sight for years. It has three components. The first is the massive concentration of corporate power and private wealth that’s been under way since the 1970s, together with a corresponding increase in inequality, social exclusion and polarisation in most western societies; the second is the astonishing penetration of “dark money” into democratic politics; and the third is the revolutionary transformation of the information ecosystem in which democratic politics is conducted – a transformation that has rendered the laws that supposedly regulated elections entirely irrelevant to modern conditions.

Continue reading...

Related

The Digital Republic by Jamie Susskind review – why the west was no match for the tech giants

The power of tech corporations is a threat to democracy, yet governments are reluctant to take actio...

Read More >

An Ugly Truth by Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang review – Facebook’s battle for domination

Russian hacking, smear campaigns and livestreamed massacres are the price of Mark Zuckerberg’s ques...

Read More >

News and How to Use It by Alan Rusbridger review – an insider's appeal to sceptics

The former Guardian editor’s insights into journalism and how it must regain the public’s trust ar...

Read More >

Thirty books to help us understand the world in 2020

The climate crisis, gender, populism, big tech, pandemics, race… our experts recommend titles to il...

Read More >