The Crisis of Democracy: Report on the Governability of Democracies to the Trilateral Commission

Crozier, Michael and Samuel Huntington and Joji Watanuki. The Crisis of Democracy: Report on the Governability of Democracies to the Trilateral Commission. New York: New York University Press, 1975.

“Is democracy in crisis? This question is being posed with increasing urgency by some of the leading statesmen of the West, by columnists and scholars and – if public opinion polls are to be trusted – even by the publics. In some respects, the mood of today is reminiscent of that of the early twenties, when the views of Oswald Spengler regarding “the Decline of the West” were highly popular. This pessimism is echoed, with obvious¬†schaudenfreude, by various communist observers, who speak with growing confidence of “the general crisis of capitalism” and who see it in the confirmation of their own theories.

The report which follows is not a pessimistic document. Its authors believe that, in a fundamental sense, the democratic systems are viable. They believe, furthermore, that democracies can work¬†provided their publics truly understand the nature of the democratic system, and particularly if they are sensitive to the subtle interrelationship between liberty and responsibility. Their discussion of “The Crisis of Democracy” is designed to make democracy stronger as it grows and becomes more democratic. Their conclusions – doubtless in some respects provocative – are designed to serve that overriding objective.”

– From the introduction.

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