Cover: Democratic Accountability: Why Choice in Politics Is Both Possible and Necessary, from Harvard University PressCover: Democratic Accountability in HARDCOVER

Democratic Accountability

Why Choice in Politics Is Both Possible and Necessary

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Product Details

HARDCOVER

$65.00 • £52.95 • €58.50

ISBN 9780674024755

Publication Date: 03/15/2007

Short

264 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

11 line illustrations, 2 tables

World

It is common for political leaders to claim they have no control over bad outcomes. Indeed, they often cite the arguments of political theorists and public intellectuals as to why: history rushes onward oblivious of human will; force and violence overcome political aims; globalization undermines the actions of national leaders; the bureaucracy sabotages their intentions; bad outcomes are often the unintended result of actions.

In Democratic Accountability, Leif Lewin examines these reasons and argues that they are unconvincing. He makes his case by describing and analyzing counterexamples in seven cases, including the prevention of a communist takeover in Europe after World War II, the European Union’s preventing another European war, and Margaret Thatcher’s taming of the bureaucracy in Britain. In a staunch defense of the possibility for meaningful and profound democratic decision making, Lewin finds that, in fact, not only do political leaders exert a good measure of control and therefore can be assigned responsibility, but the meaning of the functioning democracy is that the people hold their leaders accountable.

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Who We Might Have Been, and Who We Will Become

Who among us hasn’t considered what our lives would be like if we had taken alternate paths, made different decisions? Storytellers of every stripe write of the lives we didn’t have, says Andrew H. Miller, author of On Not Being Someone Else: Tales of Our Unled Lives. As we live through a worldwide pandemic, the ideas of what might have been are even more appealing. Much like the adolescents on the verge of adulthood in Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People, Miller tells us, we wait to see what comes next.