What We Are Reading Today: Democracy and Prosperity by Torben Iversen and David Soskice

Updated 17 January 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Democracy and Prosperity by Torben Iversen and David Soskice

It is a widespread view that democracy and the advanced nation-state are in crisis, weakened by globalization and undermined by global capitalism, in turn explaining rising inequality and mounting populism. 

This book, written by two of the world’s leading political economists, argues this view is wrong: Advanced democracies are resilient, and their enduring historical relationship with capitalism has been mutually beneficial, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

For all the chaos and upheaval over the past century — major wars, economic crises, massive social change, and technological revolutions — Torben Iversen and David Soskice show how democratic states continuously reinvent their economies through massive public investment in research and education, by imposing competitive product markets and cooperation in the workplace, and by securing macroeconomic discipline as the preconditions for innovation and the promotion of the advanced sectors of the economy. 


What We Are Reading Today: Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe by Sheri Berman

Updated 21 April 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe by Sheri Berman

In Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe, Sheri Berman traces the long history of democracy in its cradle, Europe. 

In her study of European political development over more than 200 years, Berman, a professor of political science at Barnard, shows that the story of democracy in Europe is complicated. 

“The ultimate goal, she believes, is liberal democracy, with elections, respect for the rule of law, individual liberties and minority rights. But that is a rare, and hard-won, achievement. A step forward is often followed by a step back,”  said Max Strasser in a review published in The New York Times.

“This may seem a bit obvious to anyone familiar with the broad outlines of European history, but Berman makes the case clearly and convincingly. Moreover, at a moment when hyperventilating over the decline of democracy has grown into a veritable intellectual industry, her long-view approach comes across as appealingly sober,” Strasser added.