How Democracies Die
Written by Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky, this book shows how democracies die—and how ours can be saved.
We live in a country with an economic system that, unless it is properly regulated, is destined to drive most of the nation’s wealth into the hands of an extremely small minority of its citizens.
To make matters worse, we have a political system, Democracy, in which wealth is readily transformed into political power. This dramatically amplifies capitalism’s propensity to concentrate wealth and produces a “feed forward” system in which both the economic and political system increasingly come to serve a small group of financial elites and become dangerously vulnerable to a transition to oligarchy, autocracy, or dictatorship.
In part this is due to a cynically promoted myth that the “the business of government is business.” In a real democracy, even when filtered through the structure of a republic and the nuances of a capitalist economy, the business of government is the well-being of the majority of its citizens, not a tiny minority of ultra-wealthy people; not the ravenous profits of artificial entities such as corporations. As Jim Hightower elegantly puts it, “Too few people control to much of the money and power.”
Fix Democracy First’s mission is to identify and help implement changes to the way we practice Democracy in our country that would allow our government to reflect the values of the majority of its citizens and regulate the economy in the interest of the broad general public, not a few insanely wealthy individuals or their corporations. Broadly speaking, these changes involve breaking the influence of big money on our electoral process; facilitating voter participation in elections, and enhancing citizens’ understanding of the issues involved in the practice of Democracy. We aim to enhance the public’s sense of responsibility and agency in defending Democracy regardless of their other political beliefs. Specific projects include public funding of election campaigns, ranked choice voting, enhanced voter information systems (including campaign contribution disclosure rules), eliminating gerrymandering, facilitating voting, and educating the public about Democracy related issues.