The enduring question of democratic participation is becoming increasingly complicated as money politics have permeated every aspect of the political, administrative, and religious processes in the US. In fact, Americans are divided on who “belongs” to the people. While there are areas of agreement across partisan and ideological lines, others feel that to be an “authentic” American, one must be born in the country or believe in a certain religion. Such divisions are especially dangerous during an era of increased immigration and religious pluralism.
Democracy in America is an essential text for anyone interested in American history. As its title suggests, it traces its roots to the Roman, Celtic, and Teutonic ideals. It is a critical study of democracy and the pitfalls of its failures. It also contains the first articulation of the Tocqueville effect, the concept that as social conditions improve, frustrations increase. After its publication, the book became an instant bestseller, and is now required reading for students of political and social science. Parts of the book have been translated into Chinese, Danish, German, and Indonesian.
In 1831, the French sociologist and political theorist, Alexis de Tocqueville, traveled to the US to observe prison conditions. Returning with a wealth of observations, he wrote Democracy in America, one of the most influential books of the 19th century. Democracy in America highlights the importance of equality and remains an invaluable explanation of American democracy to the rest of the world. A great number of American citizens are dissatisfied with their democratic institutions.
A study published in The Washington Post recently found that American democracy is not the shining city it once was. Most US allies now view democracy in America as a shattered “has-been.” The Pew Research Center’s survey shows that only 69% of Australian and Swedish citizens think the US political system is working well. It is an indictment of the US political system. So what should be done? The US should take more responsibility for its actions abroad and stop using its values as a tool of self-defeating colonialism.
The US is increasingly divided between the two parties and its citizens. Although many have a discerning eye, they are also familiar with the flaws in American democracy and its hypocrisy in exporting its “democracy” values to other nations. Moreover, the US is actively pursuing regime change in order to install pro-US governments in their own spheres. They are not happy about the US government’s actions and thus do not support it.
The question of whether democracy is dying in the US is more complex than ever. It is also vitally important to consider the role of large investment institutions in promoting democracy. It should not only encourage corporate leaders to fight for democracy, but also reward them for doing so. A framework of ongoing consideration and collective action is necessary to best discharge this responsibility. So, how do large investment institutions fight for democracy? In short, they should take a stand against corporate oligarchs and other forces that would undermine democracy.