Democracy Incorporated

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-02-21
  • Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr
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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.

‘’A comprehensive diagnosis of our failings as a democratic polity by one of our most seasoned and respected political philosophers. . . . Democracy Incorporated is a devastating critique of the contemporary government of the United States--including what has happened to it in recent years and what must be done if it is not to disappear into history along with its classic totalitarian predecessors. ‘’- Chalmers Johnson, Truthdig

’Democracy Incorporated provides a rare, chilling analysis of intellectual critics of democracy. If democracy means more than occasional elections and protection of those rights that are compatible with economic and political elites' interests, Wolin's analysis of our democratic predicament is shocking, solid, and fundamentally correct.’’ - C. P. Waligorski, Choice

‘’Sheldon Wolin has produced an ambitious and broad-ranging book that examines the current state of democracy in America. . . . Wolin argues that the unquestioned faith in the virtues of free market capitalism has dramatically narrowed the range of policy options that are on the table when debate turns to resolving the US's ills. . . .This is a trenchant and powerful volume.’’- Alex Waddan, International Affairs

Author Biography

Sheldon S. Wolin is professor emeritus of politics at Princeton University. His books include Politics and Vision and Tocqueville between Two Worlds (both Princeton).

Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Editionp. ix
Prefacep. xvii
Acknowledgmentsp. xxv
Previewp. 1
Myth in the Makingp. 4
Totalitarianism's Inversion: Beginnings of the Imaginary of a Permanent Global Warp. 15
Totalitarianism's Inversion, Democracy's Perversionp. 41
The New World of Terrorp. 69
The Utopian Theory of Superpower: The Official Versionp. 82
The Dynamics of Transformationp. 95
The Dynamics of the Archaicp. 114
The Politics of Superpower: Managed Democracyp. 131
Intellectual Elites against Democracyp. 159
Domestic Politics in the Era of Superpower and Empirep. 184
Inverted Totalitarianism: Antecedents and Precedentsp. 211
Demotic Momentsp. 238
Democracy's Prospects: Looking Backwardsp. 259
Notesp. 293
Indexp. 339
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Interesting topic May 7, 2011
This is an immensely important textbook that all Americans should read. But they won't. They're too busy just trying to survive, lulled by a variety of diverting issues, and also sleep walking through their lives consuming things they don't need and watching meaningless TV shows. So this will never be a widely read textbook even by those who care to know how this country has been taken over by the rich and that Democracy in this country is probably dead for good.
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Democracy Incorporated: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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