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Machiavellian Democracy

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  25 ratings  ·  3 reviews
Intensifying economic and political inequality poses a dangerous threat to the liberty of democratic citizens. Mounting evidence suggests that economic power, not popular will, determines public policy, and that elections consistently fail to keep public officials accountable to the people. John P. McCormick confronts this dire situation through a dramatic reinterpretation ...more
Paperback, 252 pages
Published March 24th 2011 by Cambridge University Press (first published February 1st 2011)
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The Book : An Online Review at The New Republic
AFTER SO MUCH has been said about Machiavelli, and so much that should be unsaid, one might be surprised to hear that there is anything new to say at all. Yet John McCormick offers a plausible and ambitious new interpretation of Machiavelli’s democratic theory, and then outlines some institutional proposals intended to translate Machiavelli’s commitments into current political conditions. Read more... ...more
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
McCormick repeats himself... a lot. In much of the book, he's arguing to make a case for his interpretation of Machiavelli's work, mainly the Discourses.

He would do well to dedicate some space to simply laying out his thesis succinctly and then making it clear that the rest of the book aims to show how and why he came to his conclusions.

It boils down to the popolo (Italian for The People) holding the grande (the great ones) accountable. He gives suggestions, from Machiavelli's writings, on how
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
A useful corrective for the work of Pettit, etc, and an especially topical work, given what appears to be the stranglehold of the financial sector over policymaking here and in Europe. However, I wonder if McCormick is too casual about the protection of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities. Much of Machiavelli's analysis of republics seems to rest on a fairly simplistic political sociology.
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“Of central importance to Machiavelli’s understanding of the Roman constitution’s development is the fact that the plebeians earn a full place of prominence in the Roman Republic. Neither political founders nor political philosophers had hitherto ever intentionally or explicitly granted the common people such a place.” 0 likes
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