This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more information, see our privacy statement

New Left Review 101, September-October 2016


Dylan Riley

POLITICS AS THEATRE?

The triumph of liberal democracy in the aftermath of the Cold War has soured with the strains of the Great Recession. [1] David Runciman, The Confidence Trap: A History of Democracy in Crisis from World War i to the Present, Princeton University Press: Princeton 2015, £9.95, paperback 416 pp, 978 0 6911 6583 7 The wisdom of allowing the populace a say in national affairs is openly questioned by liberal opinion-makers, as electorates have relished the iconoclasm of outsider candidates or cast protest votes against the status quo. Meanwhile non-accountable bodies—security and intelligence forces, central banks and ratings agencies, media and info-tech oligarchs—have relentlessly extended their powers. Undermined by economic problems, the Western powers have also committed themselves to apparently permanent military intervention in the Middle East in the name of democracy itself, while struggling to manage the refugees fleeing their expanding war zone. Nor has liberal democracy much of a record in handling environmental problems, which have only worsened since its victory. China, the world’s second-largest economy, disdains liberal-democratic institutions altogether. In a longer-run perspective, how should these travails be assessed?

Subscribe for just £45 and get free access to the archive
Please login on the left to read more or buy the article for £3

Username:

Dylan Riley, ‘Politics as Theatre?’, NLR 101: £3
Password:
 



If you want to create a new NLR account please register here

’My institution subscribes to NLR, why can't I access this article?’