How Democracies Live by Stein Ringen

How Democracies Live by Stein Ringen
Stein Ringen

How Democracies Live | Power, Statecraft, and Freedom in Modern Societies by Stein Ringen illustrates the successes of democracy and how governments can strengthen their commitment to democratic values.

In the new century, the triumph of democracy at the end of the Cold War turned to retrenchment. The core democracies, in America and Britain, succumbed to polarization and misrule. Dictatorships, such as China, made themselves assertive. New democracies in Central Europe turned to muddled ideologies of “illiberal democracy.” In this book, Stein Ringen offers a meditation on what democracy is, the challenges it faces, and how it can be defended. Ringen argues that democracy must be rooted in a culture that supports the ability of citizens to exchange views and information among themselves and with their rulers.

Drawing on the ideas of Machiavelli, Aristotle, Tocqueville, Max Weber, and others, Ringen shows how power is the fuel of government, and statecraft turns power into effective rule. Democracy should prize freedom and minimizing unfairness, especially poverty. Altogether, Ringen offers powerful insight on the meaning of democracy, including a new definition, and how countries can improve upon it and make it function more effectively. Timely and thought-provoking, How Democracies Live is a sober reminder of the majesty of the democratic enterprise.

Stein Ringen is emeritus professor at Green Templeton College, University of Oxford and visiting professor of political economy at King’s College, London.

  • ISBN: 9780226819129
  • 216 pages
  • May 1, 2022

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press