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Yascha Mounk on "The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It"

5:45-6:29pm check-in; 6:30pm sharp to 7:30pm book talk; 7:30-7:40pm book sale

Event Details

Speaker Series

The People vs Democracy Book Cover
Date: Wednesday September 26, 2018 | 06:30 PM - 07:30 PM
Speaker(s): Yascha Mounk, Lecturer on Government, Harvard University; Senior Fellow, New America Think Tank; Author
Topic: "The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It" (Harvard University Press, 2018)
Venue: Desautels Hall (Second floor, South Building) | map
Rotman School of Management, U of Toronto,
105 St George Street
Location: Toronto
Cost: $39.54 plus HST per person (includes 1 hardcover copy of "The People vs. Democracy" and 1 seat for the talk)
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Book Synopsis: The world is in turmoil. From Russia, Turkey, and Egypt to the United States, authoritarian populists have seized power. As a result, democracy itself may now be at risk. Two core components of liberal democracy―individual rights and the popular will―are increasingly at war with each other. As the role of money in politics soared and important issues were taken out of public contestation, a system of “rights without democracy” took hold. Populists who rail against this say they want to return power to the people. But in practice they create something just as bad: a system of “democracy without rights.” The consequence, as Yascha Mounk shows in this brilliant and timely book, is that trust in politics is dwindling. Citizens are falling out of love with their political system. Democracy is wilting away. Drawing on vivid stories and original research, Mounk identifies three key drivers of voters’ discontent: stagnating living standards, fear of multiethnic democracy, and the rise of social media. To reverse the trend, politicians need to enact radical reforms that benefit the many, not the few. The People vs. Democracy is the first book to describe both how we got here and what we need to do now. For those unwilling to give up either individual rights or the concept of the popular will, Mounk argues that urgent action is needed, as this may be our last chance to save democracy.

Biography: Yascha Mounk is a writer, academic and public speaker known for his work on the rise of populism and the crisis of liberal democracy. Born in Germany to Polish parents, Yascha received his BA in History from Trinity College, Cambridge, and his PhD in Government from Harvard University. He is now a Lecturer on Government at Harvard University, a Senior Fellow in the Political Reform Program at New America, and Executive Director at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. Yascha has written three books: Stranger in My Own Country - A Jewish Family in Modern Germany, a memoir about Germany’s fraught attempts to deal with its past; The Age of Responsibility – Luck, Choice and the Welfare State, which argues that a growing obsession with the concept of individual responsibility has transformed western welfare states; and The People versus Democracy – Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It, which explains the causes of the populist rise and investigates how to renew liberal democracy. To get a better sense of Yascha’s work, listen to his podcast, read his weekly column, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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