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Future Of Freedom Hardcover – Mar 25 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton (March 25 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393047644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393047646
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 23.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #458,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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IT ALL STARTED when Constantine decided to move. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Leonard J. Wilson on July 15 2004
Format: Paperback
Fareed Zakaria (born in India, Harvard PhD, Editor of Foreign Affairs, Editor of Newsweek's International Edition) examines Liberal Democracy in his recent book, The Future of Freedom. His main themes:
1. "Liberal Democracy" must be both Liberal and Democratic, Liberal in that it protects its citizens from abuse by the government and Democratic in the sense that it is responsible to its citizens.
2. "More Democratic" is not necessarily better than "Reasonably Democratic". Socrates was forced to drink hemlock by Athenian Democracy. The Reign of Terror in Revolutionary France sent thousands to the guillotine via very Democratic National Assembly. Hitler was democratically elected. None of these examples were Liberal.
3. Emerging/developing nations have demonstrated a propensity to form stable democratic governments only when their per capita GDP exceeds a threshold of $3000 - 6000. Instituting democracy at lower levels of per capita GDP has usually resulted in unstable governments that end up being illiberal, undemocratic and economically stagnant. I interpret this phenomenon as an example of Maslow's hierarchy of needs: People are unlikely to have the time, energy, or motivation to be active participants in a democratic process if their primary concerns are hunger, safety or other lower level needs.
4. Liberal Autocracies are not entirely bad. Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, and Chile are all examples of Liberal Autocracies that have or are evolving into Liberal Democracies.
5. In mature Liberal Democracies, more democracy may also be a bad thing. The US has become more democratic in many ways (direct election of senators, nominating primaries, open congressional hearings).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By on April 23 2003
Format: Hardcover
Fareed Zakaria is an intellectual whose time has come. Handsome, foreign-born, a possible candidate for the first Muslim Secretary of State, he has the sort of cachet the mass media love. His only problem is that he is a shallow conventional thinker with nothing intelligent to say. But that isn't really a problem for American journalism. The United States is a country where you can say anything you want. But being listened to, if you are to the left of Michael Kinsley or Robert Kerry, is another thing entirely. In the absence of real debate we have pseudo-debate and here Zakaria can shine. His thesis is that we are threatened with too much democracy. Rich and wealthy businessmen do not have sufficient power to insulate themselves and the world economic system from democratic pressure. It's an appalling injustice. Zakaria does not put his argument quite like that. Instead he argues that while Americans naturally wish to encourage free elections in the world, those free elections have the unfortunate habit of electing people like Yeltsin, Putin and Chavez. They would probably elect all sorts of nasty fundamentalists in the Middle East if those countries deigned to have elections. What these countries need is not more democracy, but more liberal constitutionalism. This means not merely the rule of law and an independent judiciary, but also vigorous action to encourage the free market economy and open investment. At the same time American democracy has weakened liberty by unwise congressional reform leading to lobbyists while plebiscites and initiatives have paralysed local government.
It is nice to have Zakaria admit, after decades of Republican cant against elites, that it is really conservative economists who would like to form an elite protected from public scrutiny and debate.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Sept. 3 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is a recipe for fascism: the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary components of finance capital. In case anyone hasn't noticed: we voters here in the US have had our "choice" of 2 corporate candidates for each important position for many many years. A choice of 2 corporate candidates is not an election or democracy: it is an exercise in futility and a disquised dictatorship. Looking at the results of corporate owned government and censored corporate owned media and corporate war machine that the US people have been yoked with for 70 years ...this author declares "this democracy" doesn't work. It would be more accurate to say that the corporate dictatorship hasn't worked. Do you really think that if this were a democracy that we would have so many with no health care, high pollution, decaying infrastructure, highest poverty, corporate media cartel propaganda outlets instead of a free media, and infant mortality rates of any other major industrialized nation to name a few results of the autocracy?
Finally, The US and European oligarchs installed and funded the European fascists and Nazis to prevent a worker's revolution in Europea and to attempt to overthrow the SOviet Union. The Nazis were not elected. They only got 1/3rd of the vote in 1933 even though they had shut down the presses of the other parties and had corporate funded goon squads in the streets. They had the corresponding # of seats in the Reichstag...only 1/3rd. (Some Background= Real History: 55 million members of the "left" were murdered in the WWII holocaust. The Jews were used as a demagogic scapegoat for the people's hatred of the capitalist looting system but were not a target at the upper echelons.
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