Democracy Realized: The Progressive Alternative

Overview

A radical program of reform from a commanding political theorist. Roberto Unger is widely recognized as one of the most innovative and intellectually audacious political and legal theorists alive today. Placing himself in the tradition of ?revolutionary reforms,? Unger has charted a course between social democracy and neoliberalism, seeking to combine the best element of both nonstatist and liberal aspirations. In this new work, Unger brings to bear his unique understanding of the replaceable nature of social and...
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Overview

A radical program of reform from a commanding political theorist. Roberto Unger is widely recognized as one of the most innovative and intellectually audacious political and legal theorists alive today. Placing himself in the tradition of “revolutionary reforms,” Unger has charted a course between social democracy and neoliberalism, seeking to combine the best element of both nonstatist and liberal aspirations. In this new work, Unger brings to bear his unique understanding of the replaceable nature of social and political institutions on the present global situation. The world economy is being reorganized as a network of economic vanguards, of privileged insiders, separated from the economic rearguard, the largely disenfranchised outsiders. Traditional devices for containing this division, whether through a redistributive welfare state or the support of small business, have proved inadequate. Democracy Realized challenges the ideological dominance of neoliberalism, which insists that all countries must converge in their acceptance of the dictates of market “flexibility.” Instead, Unger has developed practical alternatives that can narrow the divide between insiders and outsiders. In particular, he argues that in rich and poor countries alike, a more decentralized and inclusive relationship can be built between business and government, and that levels of civic engagement and group organization can be heightened and strengthened. In an age when leftist and progressive circles are marked by timidity and defensiveness, Unger’s Democracy Realized restores intellectual courage and programmatic zeal to political thought.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Roberto Mangabeira Unger’s project is breathtaking ... He is writing what may be the most powerful social theory of the second half of the century.”—Geoffrey Hawthorn

“A philosophical mind out of the Third World turning the tables, to become synoptist and seer of the First.”—Perry Anderson

“[Unger] does not make moves in any game we know how to play ... [His] book will someday make possible a new national romance ... [It] will help the literate ... citizens of some country to see vistas where before they saw only dangers—see a hitherto undreamt-of national future.”—Richard Rorty

A. B. Cochran
Unger skillfully summarizes the staid orthodoxy stifling most political and economic thought and articulates unquestioned assumptions that block innovation... His politically astute program recommends policies for both the near and far term.
Choice, October 1999
Internet Bookwatch
Democracy Realized: The Progressive Alternative surveys and assesses the failings of neoliberalism and institutionally conservative social democracy, the maps out the initial steps in a path they foreclose toward the deepening of democracy and the quickening of economic growth. By drawing on the experience of both rich and poor countries, Roberto Unger (Professor of Law at Harvard University, and a political activist in Brazil) shows how all the nations of the world are being irresistibly drawn into the same worldwide debate. Democracy Realized is articulate, iconoclastic, unflinchingly candid, and highly recommended to students of political science, international studies, as well as national and global economics.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859849835
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.54 (w) x 8.73 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Roberto Mangabeira Unger is one of the leading social and political thinkers in the world today. He is also active in Brazilian politics. Verso has published much of his work: False Necessity: Antinecessitarian Social Theory in the Service of Radical Democracy, What Should Legal Analysis Become?, Democracy Realized: The Progressive Alternative, Politics, and The Left Alternative.
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Table of Contents

I An Argument 1
Democratic Experimentalism in Trouble 3
What is Democratic Experimentalism? 5
Vanguards and Rearguards 30
Three Programs for the Reorganization of Firms 41
Neoliberalism and its Discontents 52
A Progressive Alternative 133
Beyond Institutions 252
II A Manifesto 261
The Constitutional Organization of Government and the Legal Framework of Electoral Politics 263
The Organization of Civil Society and the Protection of Rights 266
The Organization of Public Finance and of the Economy 271
Democracy and the Left 275
An Appendix on Saving and Investment 279
Proper-Names Index 289
Thematic Index 291
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