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The Great Democracy: How to Fix Our Politics, Unrig the Economy, and Unite America

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A leading progressive intellectual offers an "illuminating" agenda for how real democracy can triumph in America and beyond (Ari Berman, New York Times). Since the New Deal in the 1930s, there have been two eras in our political history: the liberal era, stretching up to the 1970s, followed by the neoliberal era of privatization and austerity ever since. In each period, the A leading progressive intellectual offers an "illuminating" agenda for how real democracy can triumph in America and beyond (Ari Berman, New York Times). Since the New Deal in the 1930s, there have been two eras in our political history: the liberal era, stretching up to the 1970s, followed by the neoliberal era of privatization and austerity ever since. In each period, the dominant ideology was so strong that it united even partisan opponents. But the neoliberal era is collapsing, and the central question of our time is what comes next. As acclaimed legal scholar and policy expert Ganesh Sitaraman argues, two political visions now contend for the future. One is nationalist oligarchy, which rigs the system for the rich and powerful while using nationalism to mobilize support. The other is the great democracy, which fights corruption and extends both political and economic power to all people. At this decisive moment in history, The Great Democracy offers a bold, transformative agenda for achieving real democracy.


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A leading progressive intellectual offers an "illuminating" agenda for how real democracy can triumph in America and beyond (Ari Berman, New York Times). Since the New Deal in the 1930s, there have been two eras in our political history: the liberal era, stretching up to the 1970s, followed by the neoliberal era of privatization and austerity ever since. In each period, the A leading progressive intellectual offers an "illuminating" agenda for how real democracy can triumph in America and beyond (Ari Berman, New York Times). Since the New Deal in the 1930s, there have been two eras in our political history: the liberal era, stretching up to the 1970s, followed by the neoliberal era of privatization and austerity ever since. In each period, the dominant ideology was so strong that it united even partisan opponents. But the neoliberal era is collapsing, and the central question of our time is what comes next. As acclaimed legal scholar and policy expert Ganesh Sitaraman argues, two political visions now contend for the future. One is nationalist oligarchy, which rigs the system for the rich and powerful while using nationalism to mobilize support. The other is the great democracy, which fights corruption and extends both political and economic power to all people. At this decisive moment in history, The Great Democracy offers a bold, transformative agenda for achieving real democracy.

41 review for The Great Democracy: How to Fix Our Politics, Unrig the Economy, and Unite America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Boissonneault

    Contemporary US politics in a nutshell is rule by the rich for the rich, and it’s amazing that 40 years in we are still debating whether or not neoliberal policies are benefiting the majority (they clearly are not). The income gap continues to grow, economic growth continues to be siphoned to the top, education and healthcare remain unaffordable for most people, and the response of the current administration is...to cut taxes further for the wealthy?? In The Great Democracy, Ganesh Sitaraman Contemporary US politics in a nutshell is rule by the rich for the rich, and it’s amazing that 40 years in we are still debating whether or not neoliberal policies are benefiting the majority (they clearly are not). The income gap continues to grow, economic growth continues to be siphoned to the top, education and healthcare remain unaffordable for most people, and the response of the current administration is...to cut taxes further for the wealthy?? In The Great Democracy, Ganesh Sitaraman shows us how both the left and the right have embraced neoliberalism over the past four decades along with its emphasis on tax cuts, deregulation, trade liberalization, and limited government. Neoliberalism’s faith in the market has narrowed our conception of democracy, replacing discussions about the common good and general welfare with discussions about economic efficiency and profit maximization. The ideology is so deep most people don’t even realize that there could be another way. Sitaraman does a better job than most diagnosing the problems and continually emphasizing the point that economics cannot be separated from politics. Even if you don’t believe that income and wealth inequality necessarily contributes to a lower standard of living for the majority—and that people should earn whatever the market pays them—the existence of inequality is detrimental to democracy and skews legislation to favor the rich. The wealthiest Americans and corporations spend massive amounts of money on elections and legislation to get the politicians and regulations (or lack thereof) that benefit them the most. If this wasn’t the case, they would not consistently spend tens and hundreds of millions of dollars on campaign financing and lobbying. Forty years of neoliberalism is going to be tough to dig ourselves out from, and this demands some bold and broad legislation. But it cannot be disjointed; it has to be part of a larger philosophy with clear goals. In this respect, The Great Democracy provides a complete political philosophy to replace neoliberalism and compete with oligarchic nationalism. It is based on restoring the ideals of democracy, recognizing that the common good and general welfare of the people means more than economic growth at all costs. It also recognizes that political and economic fixes must be implemented together, and that massive discrepancies in wealth threatens democracy. Sitaraman goes much further than simply outlining the problems and proposing an overall political philosophy. He provides several detailed economic and political reforms that seek to reduce inequality, expand democracy, and improve the standard of living for the bottom 90 percent of the population. His suggestions range from mandatory voting requirements to reinstating a top marginal tax rate of 70 percent to fundamentally reworking the structure of the Supreme Court to make it less political. His reform agenda also includes getting money out of politics, overturning Citizens United, mandating employee representation on corporate boards, and restructuring executive compensation. The bottom line is that more of the same will not work. Our political problems will not solve themselves, and the market certainly won’t solve them for us, mainly because it is the market that has caused them. But we don’t want to turn to nationalism either. Sitaraman simultaneously provides us with a political philosophy that appeals to the ideals of democracy—to use as a guide for policy implementation—while suggesting reforms that will make our our society more equitable, engaged, and fair. Let’s hope the next era of politics follows this path.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    A good short policy book by a top member of Warren’s team. Ganesh doubles down in public options and a few other policy issues he has championed. I like the connection to Thomas Watson in Georgia, which is a connection I’ve made as well, but in my mind that time is over because the south chose white supremacy, this is the problem of majoritarianism..we just need to change or lower the me wages of whiteness

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rae Simpson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Minuteman. Really useful on the way in which US has unraveled, in the direction of nationalistic oligarchy, where the rich rule by taking over institutions and dividing the electorate with fear of the other. Less convincing about strategies for getting to "great democracy"--identifies what needs to change but not convincing ways to make that happen, given the extent to which the oligarchy has already gained tight control.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Carl Nelson

    An important oil that should be widely read A nonpartisan review of the recent history that has hurt our democracy. An important part of this history is that economics and politics can t be separated. Our government now serves the rich, not the majority. This book is about how to restore representation of the majority.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ietrio

    United politics, controlled economy, and "fixed" politics, the Democracy for this guy is what Stalin had and North Korea still has.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

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    Keagan

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    Darrell Johns

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    Miguel

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    Manuel O. Diaz

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    Joe Morand

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    Jaylani Adam

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    CJ

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    Christopher Kuo

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    Gabriel

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    Tom Haughton

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    Bailey Cole

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    Kara

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    Leigh Anne

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    Pedro Sutter

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    Patrick

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    Sarah

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    Michelle

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    Jesse

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    Ken Wright

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    Robert Stevenson

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    Isabella Wrobel

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    Alex

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    Eileen

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    Matt Pesko

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    Eli Weinstein

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    Ralph Rizzo

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    Justin Taffet

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    Adam Maciejewski

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    Catherine Enos

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    Tom

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    Marianne

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    Katie

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    Roos Havinga

  40. 5 out of 5

    Philip Jones

  41. 4 out of 5

    Adie Tan

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