Against Elections by David Van Reybrouck
The Case for Democracy

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He mounts a convincing case that we have wrongly conflated democracy with elections, and are in fact simply maintaining an outmoded system...Van Reybrouck’s remedy is not new, but a very old one...Here, though, Van Reybrouck’s thesis begins to look a little optimistic or idealistic.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Democracy is in bad health. The symptoms are familiar: the rise of fear-mongering populists, widespread distrust in the establishment, personality contests, and point-scoring in place of reasoned debate, slogans instead of expertise. Against Elections offers a new diagnosis —and an ancient remedy. David Van Reybrouck reminds us that the original purpose of elections was to exclude the people from power by appointing an elite to govern over them. He demonstrates how over time their effect has been to reduce the people's participation in government to an absolute minimum, ensure power remains in the hands of those who already wield it, and force politicians to judge policies not on their merits but on their likelihood to win or lose votes. And that's when elections go well. Yet for most of democracy's 3000-year history governments were not chosen by election at all: they were appointed, much like the jury system, through a combination of volunteering and lottery. Drawing on vast learning, an international array of evidence, and a growing number of successful trials, Against Elections demonstrates how a sophisticated and practical version of this ancient system would work today and thus eliminate the underlying cause of democracy's sickness. Urgent, heretical, and completely convincing, this book leaves only one question to be answered: what are we waiting for?
 

About David Van Reybrouck

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Published February 15, 2016 by Random House UK. 208 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction
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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Andrew Anthony on Jul 18 2016

He mounts a convincing case that we have wrongly conflated democracy with elections, and are in fact simply maintaining an outmoded system...Van Reybrouck’s remedy is not new, but a very old one...Here, though, Van Reybrouck’s thesis begins to look a little optimistic or idealistic.

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