Twenty-First Century Democracy by Philip Resnick

By Philip Resnick

Addresses a few of the primary questions surrounding the perform of democracy on the finish of the 20 th century and the problems of governance within the twenty first century, together with problems with globalization, nationalism, and direct democracy. issues during this textual content diversity from a utopian-style foray into attainable constructions for democratic governance on the international point to a Hobbesian research of the continued demanding situations that democratic concept faces; from an statement of the significance of social and financial background to a acceptance of the boundaries of harmony within the genuine international of pluralistic and divided societies within which we are living; from id with the cosmopolitan and the foreign to a defence of the nationwide and the neighborhood.

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The control which those with wealth and privilege exercise over the media or over the funding of political parties in a society like the United States cannot but vitiate the operation of democracy. The absence of a universal health care system in such a society or the horrific conditions of the inner-city poor are a daily indictment of a polity in which market values have run amok. Nor is the United States the only western society in which important economic inequality exists. One wonders how Western Europe or Japan or Canada would take to proposals of the type that John Stuart Mill advanced in the middle of the last century for an 80 per cent tax on inheritance?

We have already seen something of this with the emergence of various forms of identity politics - gender, ethnic, sexual orientation - in recent years. These are perfectly legitimate forms of expression provided that they themselves do not become intolerant. 27 Twenty-First Century Democracy There is also a greater openness to the diversity of culture, both within established societies and at the international level. Vaclav Havel writes: "If the world today is not to become hopelessly enmeshed in ever more terrifying conflicts, it has only one possibility.

There is no precedent for global citizenship to underwrite the type of institutions I have just sketched. Nor is there a natural affinity between the inhabitants, say, of Canada, Brazil, Zaire, and Sri Lanka who might be members of the same global division? Attica at the time of Cleisthenes did at least constitute a single geographical space. Can the same be said for our planet, even as we look ahead to the twenty-first century? There have been examples, in recent years, of solidarity that transcends geographical and economic divides.

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