“John Talbott’s call to revitalize American democracy also contains a powerful message for the rest of the world: namely, that democratic governance and the rule of law constitute the key to economic development. It’s a compelling message that deserves the widest possible hearing.”
—Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy
“This is a fascinating and ambitious book. Not everybody will agree with the arguments. But I believe everybody will be challenged and stimulated by them.”
—Daron Acemoglu, Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Clearly written and told with passion and conviction, Where America Went Wrong lays before us a compelling picture of an America that is under siege by corporations, special interests, and the rich and powerful. It is our very future as a democracy that is at stake. The book deserves to be read by everyone who cares about America.”
—D. Quinn Mills, Professor, Harvard Business School
Who believes that America is currently living up to its potential? Is the American government being responsive to its citizens? Are the American and world economies as strong as they could be? Are Americans as happy as they could be? Why has world opinion turned strongly against America?
While the symptoms indicate there is something fundamentally wrong with America, the remedy is very specific—we have lost our democratic tradition. The question for America no longer comes down to Democrats vs. Republicans or liberals vs. conservatives or free-market libertarians vs. anti-globalists, but rather to a simple formulation of the people vs. the elites. Some might argue that such delineation might initiate a class war. Wake up! The class war has already begun.
Something has gone terribly wrong in America. The bastion of democratic freedom in the world is ignoring its own democratic traditions at home and abroad, and the results are immediate and painful. World opinion of America has dropped precipitously. The world economy has stalled, especially in Africa and Latin America. Americans are consuming more and enjoying it less. The world is not at peace.
It is time for Americans and members of the world community who are unhappy to stand up and raise their voices. Elites, big corporations, and special interests have had their failed day in the sun, and now it is time to return America to its people.
The solution is democratic reform. Talbott shows how greater direct democracy can revitalize not just our politics, but our economy as well. Voting rights, constitutional rights, human rights, democratic institutions, a free press, civil liberties, and especially rights to assemble and speak are important not just in the world’s repressive regimes but also in America, which has seen a long erosion of these basic rights so important to her people’s prosperity and individual freedoms.
America’s next great political battle won’t be fought between Democrats and Republicans: it will be fought between elitists and populists. This book begins that battle.
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AMERICA'S PROBLEMS AT HOME.1. What Is Wrong with America?
AMERICA'S PROBLEMS ABROAD.7. Why Do They Hate Us? What World Opinion Could Tell America.
WHO WILL TELL THE PEOPLE.10. Has Academia Lost Its Independence.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION.12. The Citizens' Agenda and Conclusion.
APPENDIX.Political Freedom, Economic Liberty, and Prosperity.
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