- Series: Perspectives on Democratic Practice
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (July 30, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765808684
- ISBN-13: 978-0765808684
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Democracy – The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order (Perspectives on Democratic Practice) 1st Edition
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About the Author
Hans-Hermann Hoppe received his Ph.D. and his "Habilitation" from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He is currently professor of economics at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn, AL, and editor of the Journal of Libertarian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly Review.
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Top Customer Reviews
Well, my answer before reading the book was that democracy is a failure because of the size and the power it has reached, and the asymmetry that occurs between what it pursues and what it gets. Ancient city-states were proportionate to the government as long as almost any citizen could participate in the discussion and in the solution of any public affair. Democracy, let's say, was just at the round of the corner of any single citizen. Today, that is not the case. Not anymore.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe's "Democracy, the god that failed," has written a superb book on this topic, analyzing the present state of the world as a derivative of the previous state which was --fundamentally-- monarchical. That's why the in the cover we read "the economics and politics of monarchy, democracy, and natural order." As you read, you discover that this sentence represents exactly the content of "Democracy..."
Thus, in thirteen chapters, Hoppe compares the present democracy with the past monarchy and then proposes that the natural order is the very alternative (and the solution) to break the dead end which is democracy (or so it seems). His insight in this respect is the clue to convince you that, for instance, democracy wasn't an advance or a social conquest with respect to monarchy. He is a professor and the hours giving lectures are evident. He is not only talking to you, he is also teaching you. In general, as a reader, I appreciate the author's capacity to show things from different angles, specially when the topic is so common, universal, and close to you (as it is the case with democracy). We are so submerged in politics that we have the very equivocal idea that we understand the whole phenomenon. After reading Hoppe's book you discover that there was some loose ends that usually you don't take into account and that deserve your attention.
Now, the basis of the discussion (the floor) is private property, economy, state interventionism, and taxes. Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and the Austrian School of economics are the ghostly presences whose words, works, and insights remember you those of the prophets or heroes of religion. In fact they are both prophets and heroes --although of a non religion quest-- as long as they developed a new way of looking at the problems that liberalism faced when the end of the monarchies and the rise of democracies left it out of the party.
Democracy, Hoppe says, was a model imposed by the U.S. after World War I. Since then, nothing has changed. Who would dare to put into question a model which rules almost all over the world?
Well, the book touches any single theme in depth so it has nothing to do with a pamphlet, therefore do not expect a fast reading because it demands time for a non expert to comprehend some analysis, long footnotes or economic concepts like "time preference." A couple of consultations here and there will give you, anyway, the clarity for continuing the reading. I should add here that the study of the past and the present is the best part of the book. In this regard, the weakest part is the last one, where Hoppe talks about the future, and proposes the "prospect for revolution" based on what private owners could do for living without a state. He talks about the possibilities of structures like insurance companies for protecting you of the risks and dangers of living inevitably among bad guys. Not only that, he also holds that those companies should act against any menace to a free society (of private owners). As long as it is true that in theory anarcho-capitalism is better than democracy for fulfilling a life in freedom, in practice is difficult to imagine how all this is going to work in a world with no states, plenty of independent and prosperous cities. Unfortunately, Hoppe doesn't put much discussion in giving you an idea of what detractors think about it and I think it would have been a valuable plus for the book.
My only objection to "Democracy," is the repetition of some topics in several chapters. Even some notes are repeated and that, I guess, should have been avoided with a more rigorous edition. At the beginning of the book the author says that much of the studies "have grown out of speeches delivered at various conferences," and I'm sorry to say that it is too much obvious.
A very good companion for "Democracy" is For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization (Series; 2),The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge, and Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics.
In sum, "Democracy" is a very instructive, interesting, and necessary book on democracy, a god that really failed.
I'm not sure whether what Hoppe proposes as a better form, anarcho-capitalism, would be any better, as you would still have man in the equation. But certainly, as Hoppe mentions, the democracies of the West are quickly morphing into socialism, and most people in this country don't even realize this. This trend towards socialism, Hoppe says, will crush Western democracies with the weight of their debt. Other symptoms/maladies that seem to go along with modern democracy include "forced integration" and "egalitarianism".
I agree with another reviewer in that the first section of the book on time-preference is hard to follow, but becomes clearer once Hoppe starts to make his case against democracy. I would recommend "fans" of democracy read this book. It will help you see the shortcomings and perhaps ways that it can be improved (though Hoppe believes that improvement is not possible - it has to be pulled up by the roots).