Why Politics Fails: The Five Traps of the Modern World & How to Escape Them (Paperback)Ben Ansell (author)
Wide-ranging and compellingly argued, Ben Ansel’s engaging volume examines the detrimental way self-interest undermines our ability to deliver on our collective goals in today's political landscape.
From the 2023 Reith lecturer
Politics is failing us. This is why.
When it comes to politics, there are five goals that voters generally agree upon. We all want a say in how we're governed, to be treated equally, a safety net when times are hard, protection from harm and to be richer in the future. So, why does politics not deliver that?
The problem is each of these five goals results in a political trap. For example, we all want a say in how we're governed, but it's impossible to have any true 'will of the people'. And we want to be richer tomorrow, but what makes us richer in the short run makes us poorer over the long haul.
In Why Politics Fails, award-winning Oxford professor Ben Ansell draws on examples from Ancient Greece through Brexit to vividly illustrate how we can escape these traps, overcome self-interest and deliver on our collective goals. Politics seems to be broken, but this book shows how it can work for everyone.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 240 g
Dimensions: 196 x 128 x 28 mm
A meticulous study of how different societies find it so difficult to achieve widely shared goals, like democracy, equality, a decent welfare state, security from crime and sustainable prosperity - Nick Pearce, Financial Times
Salutary reading for the world we live in now - James A. Robinson, co-author of Why Nations Fail
Brilliant ... a must-read - Daron Acemoglu, co-author of Why Nations Fail
I think the book is beautifully written and engaging. Ben has the rare gift of writing like he talks, and even when he gets out of storytelling mode into "here's the facts" it's an engaging read. I also think book-readers are ready for a message that isn't telling us that we are marching steadily towards a better world. Nor does hopeless disaster - endless polarization, climate apocalypse - await humanity. The truth, as usual, is in the middle. Politics is hard. There are trade-offs. If we want to build a better society, let's put aside naive optimism and pessimism and get more sophisticated - Chris Blattman, author of Why We Fight
A must-read ... In an era of great challenges to the world, the urgency of what Ansell shows us, practical ways to overcoming political obstacles to collective decision making, is all the more timely - Victor Shih, UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy
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