Of the People, by the People by Roger Osborne

“Arguably the greatest failure of democratic governments in our time has been the surrender of power to the international financial system in return for short-term prosperity for their electors.”

This compelling narrative about the history of democracy is succinct. Nevertheless, it makes a significant number of telling points. It shows how democracy has been interpreted differently down the ages. It reminds us that the answer to problems in mature democracies is often more democracy.

For example, the author makes the point that democracy suffered major setbacks between the major wars of the last century. This was partly because of economic difficulties. However, it was also due to the rise of extreme nationalism. While vulgar forms of Marxism were also undemocratic, it was toxic fascism which emerged as the biggest danger.

If citizens of the world today want to avoid making the mistakes of the past, refusing to support overtly nationalist politicians is prudent. Socialism and liberalism are ideologies which have not got an innocent history. However, the optimism they share is necessary now.

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