The End of Politicians: Time for a Real Democracy Paperback – February 28, 2017
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Darn! This is the book I wish I had written. Compelling, inspiring, evidence-based. Hennig explains how democracy got us into this mess, and how we can fix it.
—Professor Lyn Carson, The University of Sydney, Director of the newDemocracy Foundation
Politics as we know it today is evidently broken. In "The End of Politicians" Brett Hennig uses startling research to point towards the solutions and who the great politicians of the future may be. You will probably be surprised to know, that's you! Essential analysis put together in a remarkably accessible way. A book for visionaries.
—Jamie Kelsey Fry, contributing editor, New Internationalist
Do you believe holding elections every couple of years means you live in a democracy? Short, powerfully argued and carefully researched, Hennig shows how elections have for a long time been known to serve the interests of the powerful - and how ordinary citizens can regain control of their government.
—Professor Manuel Arriaga, New York University, author of Rebooting Democracy: A Citizen's Guide to Reinventing Politics
Hennig takes stock of democracy in the past and present. His bold assessment will enable us to step out of the shadows of the political elite. Hennig does not stop there, however. In a fast-forward to the future, he outlines ways and systems that will make the dream of democracy come true. This book is an energy drink for social action.
—Dr Bettina Wittneben, Research Associate, University of Oxford
The End of Politicians provides a powerful critique of the democratic deficits inherent in all forms of electoral democracy. But it does much more than explore the undemocratic qualities of electoral democracy; it proposes a compelling and provocative alternative - the random selection of ordinary citizens to serve as fully empowered legislators. Whether one agrees with this or not, the clarity of the argument will generate productive debate.
—Professor Erik Olin Wright, University of Wisconsin-Madison, author of Envisioning Real Utopias
Hennig has the right idea: Democracy requires innovation at any age, but especially this one. The End of Politicians doesn't call for an end to politics, but rather to antiquated institutions over-reliant on a small number of elected leaders. That system brought us this far, but Hennig reviews many of the alternatives that are already reshaping governance, by injecting the wider public back into public life - not as a mobilized mob, but through more deliberative bodies. Reading this book gives a glimpse of what's already changing and what lies on - or just beyond - the horizon of democratic political reform.
—Professor John Gastil, Penn State University, author of Democracy in Small Groups
Electoral democracy isn't a real, 'one person - one vote' democracy; we the people don't actually rule. Let's go with Brett Hennig - let's institute sortition to select our legislatures: not as a panacea, but as an essential step on the road to real democracy.
—Professor Paul Cartledge, Cambridge University, author of Democracy: A Life
About the Author
Brett Hennig is a director and co-founder of the Sortition Foundation whose aim is to promote the ideas within The End of Politicians: Time for a Real Democracy and institute the use of stratified, random selection (also called sortition) in government.
Before co-founding the Sortition Foundation, Brett wore a variety of hats: as a taxi driver, a software engineer, a social justice activist, a mathematics tutor, and the primary carer of four boys; he finished his PhD in astrophysics just before his first son arrived.
After spending several disheartening years trying to influence political decisions, both from within and without the system, he became inspired by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's trilogy on political philosophy and began investigating and researching network forms of democracy. The End of Politicians: Time for a Real Democracy is the result of those years of work.
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In the second part the author moves on in describing a possible alternative, namely "sortition" or random selection, and convincingly explains what would be the advantages of this systems. In addition, he honestly anticipate some of the problems and difficulties that sortition would encounter.
I think this book is intriguing, because you start reading it with some sense of condescension towards something that looks like an utopian dream but you are progressively captured by the strength of the arguments. Also, it is inspiring because the author is persuasive and calls to action for a better and more complete democracy.