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“Roberto Mangabeira Unger’s book may someday make possible a new national romance ... a hitherto undreamt-of national future.”—Richard Rorty
“A restless visionary.”—New York Times
“A philosophical mind out of the Third World turning tables, to become a synoptist and seer of the First.”—Perry Anderson
“Brazil’s answer to John Stuart Mill ... a political philosopher extraordinaire.”—Chronicle of Higher Education
“This book has influenced how I think and what I do. It sets out the principles for a future Left and crucially challenges us to think not just about how we spend revenues but how we might create them.”—Neal Lawson, Chair of Compass
Posted July 18, 2012
I think he draws upon the vast make-up of ideas that combine together to either make or break a civilized society. Whether they be economic, political or social he explores the ramifications of each facet's effect or impact on the structure of society. He doesn't pull any punches when he makes the assertion that current policies of government by certain political forces have created almost a "regime" as he refers to it in the early part of the book. Further he wants greater involvement and inclusion by everyone in policy-making in government to further democratize society so it isn't so "elitist."
The only subtltie that I find to be somewhat of an oversight on the part of his greater vision for society is his reference to the "impasse between the political branches of government." The same forces that cause impasse also act as a safeguard to insure the checks and balances of our constitutional system. Pure democracy can cause rule by majority which leads to a culture ruled by concensus. And I believe that we are a "nation of laws not of men" in the spirit of President John Adams. And while Professor Unger may not believe in "democratization" in this vein I just wonder what kind of mechanism in his philosophical point of view would be implemented to safeguard our liberties and not sacrifice them for the greater welfare. Because in a general sense when you sacrifice individual liberty for the "state" if you will you are getting into the political philosophical realm of fascism. He wants us to all "co-exist" and work together in a spirit of co-operation but over-looks the fact that we are all motivated by self-interest and not necessarily by the greater interest of society at large.
Overall, though I find his vision to be brilliant and idealistical in an otherwise cynical world that has to face the music and do something very different if we want to change for the better which is what I took away from his book.