Book Excerpt: The Good State

The fallacy in hoping that the people who populate and operate a democracy’s institutions will not abuse the latitude for action they find in them is illustrated by Han Fei’s story of the farmer and the hare. The story is that a farmer was ploughing a field in the middle of which stood a tree. Suddenly a hare came racing through the field, collided with the tree, broke its neck and died. Read More …

Book Excerpt: Democracy may not Exist, but We’ll Miss it When it’s Gone

Typically, democracy is considered to consist of one person, one vote, exercised in periodic elections; constitutional rights; and a market economy. On paper at least, there is no shortage of states that conform to this rather limited conception — by some estimates, 81 countries moved from authoritarianism to democracy between 1980 and 2002. Yet recent studies reveal that democracy, defined by the preceding attributes, has weakened worldwide over the last decade or so. Read More …