Mini-Me: The Future of Democracy

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Civil Society, Democracy
Who?  Mini-Me?
Who? Mini-Me?


By Mark Mazower

Financial Times, 25 October 2013

The Confidence Trap: A History of Democracy in Crisis from World War I to the Present, by David Runciman, Princeton, RRP£19.95/$29.95, 408 pages

Nation of Devils: Democratic Leadership and the Problem of Obedience, by Stein Ringen, Yale, RRP£20/$35, 264 pages

The Last Vote: The Threats to Western Democracy, by Philip Coggan, Allen Lane, RRP£20, 320 pages


The worry that emerges from these three lively and thoughtful books is not that democracy faces extinction but that the kind of democracy that now envelops us – with its billionaires and its unemployed millions, its surveillance state and its unelected technocrats, its individual gratification and its ever-narrowing visions of the collective good – is one that previous generations would have regarded as a nightmare. Coggan wants to rouse us, and in different ways so do his fellow authors. But, as de Tocqueville warned, this is the kind of nightmare from which democracy may never awake.

Mark Mazower is professor of history at Columbia University and author of ‘Governing the World: The History of an Idea’ (Penguin)

Read full review of all three books.

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