Michael Parenti's Democracy for the Few (, , ) is one of the more recent examples of an interesting genre of books: grotesque radical caricature of . The Parenti text challenges students, perhaps for the first time, to critically assess the dominant pluralist paradigm; that it invites students to consider the ubiquity. Democracy identifies the general processes causing democratization and de- democratization at a national level across the world over the last few hundred.
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Editorial Reviews. Review. "Democracy for the Few is a radical text that will educate, entertain, inspire, and provoke students to read, think, and be critical. "Democracy for the Few is a radical text that will educate, entertain, inspire, and provoke students to read, think, and be critical." - Dan Brook, Ph.D., San Jose. Democracy for the Few NINTH EDITIONMichael Parenti, Ph.D. www. echecs16.infotralia • Brazil • Japan • Korea.
He's also a noted academic having taught at a number of colleges and universities in the US and abroad. Parenti is also one of the nation's leading progressive political analysts and social critics. He strongly opposes US imperialism, the shredding of our civil liberties, decline of our social state, and the Bush Doctrine of preventive wars on the world for predatory capitalism's need for new markets, resources and cheap exploitable labor. Parenti's latest book, and subject of this review, is the newly updated eight edition of one of his most noted and popular earlier ones - Democracy For the Few. In it, he shows how democracy in the nation really works. It dispels the fiction Americans are practically weaned on from birth, taught in school to the highest levels, and get daily from the dominant media.
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Parenting describes all that is wrong with America in well researched and incredible detail--and tells us what we can do to fix it. Horrific and fascinating. American history and civics as you may not have heard it before. I thought the corporatocracy was comparatively new, but I've learned a lot from this book.
I read a few pages a night so I can mull over what he says. A must for anyone who needs to understand where our American government came from and where it is going. I hope it will be a springboard for action. Such a great perspective on democracy, really opens your eyes to some things we aren't taught in school,like the OTHER side. We aren't all represented in the constitution and I was never really aware of that before.
This book is so profound and well written that I have a hard time leaving anything out of my review, the entire chapter 19 Democracy for the Few starting on page is a good place to begin at the section titled "What is To Be Done" starting on the bottom of page is vital must read material, another must read section is chapter 13 "Mass Media: For the Many, by the Few" starting on page , the section titled "The Ideological Monopoly" beginning on the top of page is especially delicious.
If you only download one book a year this is the book you should download and carefully read every last word in it. Ordered it for a college class and I have to say it was definitely worth downloading.
It's a great book I feel that everyone who lives in America should have to read it! The best read of your life!
This book reveals the truth that the American government does not want their citizens to know.
If you do not question everything by now, then you most certainly will be skeptical of the information fed to us by our mainstream media, schools, textbooks, and government officials. Parenti is a genius. This book is such an amazing download because it gives you the essence of History in such a direct manner. It does not hide the truth of American History.
The only thing I would have like was for this book to be affordable as it has lots of interesting chapters. See all 83 reviews. site Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about site Giveaway. This item: Democracy for the Few. Set up a giveaway.
What other items do customers download after viewing this item? Howard Zinn. Contrary Notions: Michael Parenti. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. A People's History of the United States. Edward S. This encourages extremism, because politicians have to appeal only to the party faithful, and in effect disenfranchises large numbers of voters. And money talks louder than ever in American politics. Thousands of lobbyists more than 20 for every member of Congress add to the length and complexity of legislation, the better to smuggle in special privileges.
All this creates the impression that American democracy is for sale and that the rich have more power than the poor, even as lobbyists and donors insist that political expenditure is an exercise in free speech. Nor is the EU a paragon of democracy.
The decision to introduce the euro in was taken largely by technocrats; only two countries, Denmark and Sweden, held referendums on the matter both said no. Efforts to win popular approval for the Lisbon Treaty, which consolidated power in Brussels, were abandoned when people started voting the wrong way.
During the darkest days of the euro crisis the euro-elite forced Italy and Greece to replace democratically elected leaders with technocrats. A project designed to tame the beast of European populism is instead poking it back into life. The democratic distemper EVEN in its heartland, democracy is clearly suffering from serious structural problems, rather than a few isolated ailments.
Since the dawn of the modern democratic era in the late 19th century, democracy has expressed itself through nation-states and national parliaments. People elect representatives who pull the levers of national power for a fixed period. But this arrangement is now under assault from both above and below. From above, globalisation has changed national politics profoundly. National politicians have surrendered ever more power, for example over trade and financial flows, to global markets and supranational bodies, and may thus find that they are unable to keep promises they have made to voters.
International organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation and the European Union have extended their influence. There is a compelling logic to much of this: how can a single country deal with problems like climate change or tax evasion? National politicians have also responded to globalisation by limiting their discretion and handing power to unelected technocrats in some areas. The number of countries with independent central banks, for example, has increased from about 20 in to more than today.
From below come equally powerful challenges: from would-be breakaway nations, such as the Catalans and the Scots, from Indian states, from American city mayors. All are trying to reclaim power from national governments.
The internet makes it easier to organise and agitate; in a world where people can participate in reality-TV votes every week, or support a petition with the click of a mouse, the machinery and institutions of parliamentary democracy, where elections happen only every few years, look increasingly anachronistic.
Douglas Carswell, a British member of parliament, likens traditional politics to HMV, a chain of British record shops that went bust, in a world where people are used to calling up whatever music they want whenever they want via Spotify, a popular digital music-streaming service.
The biggest challenge to democracy, however, comes neither from above nor below but from within—from the voters themselves. Democratic governments got into the habit of running big structural deficits as a matter of course, borrowing to give voters what they wanted in the short term, while neglecting long-term investment.
France and Italy have not balanced their budgets for more than 30 years. The financial crisis starkly exposed the unsustainability of such debt-financed democracy.
With the post-crisis stimulus winding down, politicians must now confront the difficult trade-offs they avoided during years of steady growth and easy credit. But persuading voters to adapt to a new age of austerity will not prove popular at the ballot box.
Slow growth and tight budgets will provoke conflict as interest groups compete for limited resources. To make matters worse, this competition is taking place as Western populations are ageing.
They will increasingly have absolute numbers on their side. Many democracies now face a fight between past and future, between inherited entitlements and future investment.
Adjusting to hard times will be made even more difficult by a growing cynicism towards politics. Voter turnout is falling, too: a study of 49 democracies found that it had declined by 10 percentage points between and Meanwhile the border between poking fun and launching protest campaigns is fast eroding.
And in a quarter of Italians voted for a party founded by Beppe Grillo, a comedian. All this popular cynicism about politics might be healthy if people demanded little from their governments, but they continue to want a great deal. The result can be a toxic and unstable mixture: dependency on government on the one hand, and disdain for it on the other.
The dependency forces government to overexpand and overburden itself, while the disdain robs it of its legitimacy.
Democratic dysfunction goes hand in hand with democratic distemper. The Obama administration now seems paralysed by the fear that democracy will produce rogue regimes or empower jihadists. And why should developing countries regard democracy as the ideal form of government when the American government cannot even pass a budget, let alone plan for the future?
Why should autocrats listen to lectures on democracy from Europe, when the euro-elite sacks elected leaders who get in the way of fiscal orthodoxy? At the same time, democracies in the emerging world have encountered the same problems as those in the rich world. They too have overindulged in short-term spending rather than long-term investment. Brazil allows public-sector workers to retire at 53 but has done little to create a modern airport system.
India pays off vast numbers of client groups but invests too little in infrastructure. Political systems have been captured by interest groups and undermined by anti-democratic habits. Democracy has been on the back foot before.
In the s and s communism and fascism looked like the coming things: when Spain temporarily restored its parliamentary government in , Benito Mussolini likened it to returning to oil lamps in the age of electricity. Things are not that bad these days, but China poses a far more credible threat than communism ever did to the idea that democracy is inherently superior and will eventually prevail. The elite is becoming a self-perpetuating and self-serving clique.
At the same time, as Alexis de Tocqueville pointed out in the 19th century, democracies always look weaker than they really are: they are all confusion on the surface but have lots of hidden strengths. Being able to install alternative leaders offering alternative policies makes democracies better than autocracies at finding creative solutions to problems and rising to existential challenges, though they often take a while to zigzag to the right policies.
But to succeed, both fledgling and established democracies must ensure they are built on firm foundations. Getting democracy right THE most striking thing about the founders of modern democracy such as James Madison and John Stuart Mill is how hard-headed they were. They regarded democracy as a powerful but imperfect mechanism: something that needed to be designed carefully, in order to harness human creativity but also to check human perversity, and then kept in good working order, constantly oiled, adjusted and worked upon.
The need for hard-headedness is particularly pressing when establishing a nascent democracy. One reason why so many democratic experiments have failed recently is that they put too much emphasis on elections and too little on the other essential features of democracy.
There is a clear positive correlation. The authors find that countries that are more democratic are less likely to execute, regulate religion, or censor the press. Click to open interactive version Does democratization have an effect on education? Above, we mentioned that improved education might cause greater democratization. Now, is there also a reverse causal effect? That is, does democratization lead to improved education? Once again, this is a tricky question for social science, because we need to distinguish between the two arrows of causation.
Evidence that democratization leads to better education Gallego 5 presents the most careful analysis that we are aware of. They "find that elections significantly increase public goods expenditure, the increase corresponds to demand and is paralleled by an increase in public goods provision and local taxes.
The introduction of elections also reduced inequality.
Martinez-Bravo et al. Can something as complex as democratization really be boiled down to a single, one-dimensional metric? Many would argue that it cannot. Nonetheless, such a metric can be convenient and useful — it allows us to compare political regimes across time and space, and to quantify the causes and effects of political regime change. For example, such a metric can help us study the link between democratization and the end of mass famines.
In this entry, we have chosen to rely heavily on Polity IV and, in particular, what we've called the Democracy Score as our metric for democratization. One reason for choosing Polity IV is its long-run perspective. Another is that Polity IV's data sources provide a detailed explanation for each country's political regime classification in each year. You can find these explanations in the PDF files here.
Yet another reason for choosing Polity IV is that it was praised by Munck and Verkuilen , 14 which is a a much-cited and thorough evaluation of commonly used democracy measures. These authors argue that there is usually a trade-off between the comprehensiveness of the empirical scope and the quality of the assessment in terms of conceptualization, measurement, and aggregation. However, Polity IV constitutes a rare "partial exception" to this trade-off.