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Book Talk: Rethinking How Democratic Systems Work

Oct 24 @ 1:15 pm

The rise of populism in the West and the rise of China in the East have stirred a rethinking of how democratic systems work—and how they fail. The impact of globalism and digital capitalism is forcing worldwide attention to the starker divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” challenging how we think about the social contract.

“Renovating Democracy” tears down our basic structures and challenges us to conceive of an alternative framework for governance. To truly renovate our global systems, the authors argue for empowering participation without populism by integrating social networks and direct democracy into the system with new mediating institutions that complement representative government. They outline steps to reconfigure the social contract to protect workers instead of jobs, shifting from a “redistribution” after wealth to “pre-distribution” with the aim to enhance the skills and assets of those less well-off. Lastly, they argue for harnessing globalization through “positive nationalism” at home while advocating for global cooperation—specifically with a partnership with China—to create a viable rules-based world order.

Nicolas Berggruen, founder and chairman of the Berggruen Institute, is coauthor of “Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century: A Middle Way between West and East” and is co-publisher of the WorldPost. Nathan Gardels is co-founder of the Berggruen Institute and editor-in-chief of the WorldPost.