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Democracy Despite Itself

Why a System That Shouldn’t Work At All Works So Well

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Why democracy is the most effective form of government despite irrational (and sometime oblivious) voters and flawed (and sometimes inept) politicians.

From Publishers Weekly

Dec 12, 2011 – As Churchill famously asserted, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” Princeton professor Oppenheimer and founder Edwards provide a succinct brief in support of these words, with the first half discussing the flaws of American democracy and the second defending democracy as practiced today. Unfortunately, the authors set the bar low by comparing democracy to various authoritarian systems, and not to representing the needs and interests of the electorate. In a basic methodological flaw, they apply insights from social psychology to the political realm without enough care. For example, they write of the “wisdom of crowds” in, say, guessing the number of candies in a large jar—the average estimate is often spot-on—and apply this to voters picking the supposedly right candidates. More seriously, they pay only glancing attention to voter apathy and the corrosive influence of big money on the electoral process. Though Oppenheimer and Edwards provide fascinating, and adequate, evidence that democracy works because it “encourages the flawed people and their flawed leaders to continually work toward building a better society,” they fail to make the case that it “works so well.”
Democracy Despite Itself
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  • $16.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Politics & Current Events
  • Published: Sep 22, 2012
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Seller: The MIT Press
  • Print Length: 354 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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