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The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium

Narrated by: Tony Messano
Length: 13 hrs and 42 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Politics
5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Summary

In the words of economist and scholar Arnold Kling, Martin Gurri saw it coming.

Technology has categorically reversed the information balance of power between the public and the elites who manage the great hierarchical institutions of the industrial age government, political parties, the media.

The Revolt of the Public tells the story of how insurgencies, enabled by digital devices and a vast information sphere, have mobilized millions of ordinary people around the world.

Originally published in 2014, this updated edition of The Revolt of the Public includes an extensive analysis of Donald Trump's improbable rise to the presidency and the electoral triumphs of Brexit and concludes with a speculative look forward, pondering whether the current elite class can bring about a reformation of the democratic process and whether new organizing principles, adapted to a digital world, can arise out of the present political turbulence.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2018 Martin Gurri (P)2018 Stripe Press

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  • Philo
  • 25-06-19

New forces break things, but can't replace them

The contest of new voices and old swirls in a stew of new complexity. Old structures of authority and legitimacy wobble. Tiny sub-tribes ("publics," here) emerge, seemingly from nowhere, temporarily and provisionally, often simply to hurl stones at the ostensible authorities, and to disband again. These centers of authority come from our recent past and are in all domains: business, bureaucracy, science.

For some, all these newly moving parts signal a need to cling ever tighter to their certitudes, their (sometimes) internally-consistent walled personal realities. On the web, one can find new comfort in far-flung kindred folks (for virtually any complex of beliefs), with a new bluster since one can bray all day and never stand face to face with opponents. These new structures are weak and provisional, mostly, and not capable of governing, says the author, speaking mostly from the vantage of 2014. But it follows from all this that some new champions would emerge and find some style under which to gather all these threads and anxieties into good old centralized political power. Enter Donald Trump. (Think: FDR or Hitler on radio in 1931.) But Trump too is just another moment in this evolution which, the author is modest enough to say, is too complex to predict. The author foresees nihilism but this is just one possible future or stage. I think it is too complex to call, to multifaceted to neatly model. For fairly recent history and its meaning (which is still plenty useful now), this book is a gem, with heaps of context for thinking about it all. The author is a fine, crisp writer and the narrator is effective.

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  • Chris L.
  • 16-08-19

Excellent

Essential analysis of modern discourse. If you want to understand how and why politics have gotten so topsy-turvy all around the world, listen to Gurri's argument in this book.

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  • ZuperZandwich
  • 18-02-19

The book to read to understand current politics

A deep analysis of the changes in the credibility of authority brought on by communication tech. Not a fast read and best digested in bits but still highly recommended.

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  • Bob
  • 06-01-19

essential sense-making of modern elections

I absolutely suggest that you read/listen to Martin Gurri's recently revised "The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium". The Audible edition was expertly narrated and my chosen consumption method.

Although its scope includes in-depth analysis of slightly earlier democratic negations as well as other world political events before those, the Revolt of The Public was written before the 2016 election and may as well have predicted its outcome. It's since been updated and confirms my grave suspicion about the public's reaction to Trump's election & presidency in that it says much more about the U.S. electorate as participants in a fledgling democracy than the President and his nihilistic behavior.

In Gurri's revised post-2016 conclusion when pondering the usefulness of debating whether democracy can be returned to its pre-2011 status quo, Gurri fatefully asks of the modern public, "How are legitimate elites selected in a Democratic society?" He then later expands "[Trump] is the visible effect, not the cause, of the public's surly and mutinous mood...The right level of analysis on Trump isn't Trump at all, but the public that endowed him with a radical direction and temper and the decadent institutions that proved too weak to stand in his way. The U.S. public, like the public everywhere is engaged in a long migration away from the structures of representative democracy to more sectarian arrangements. The public craves meaning and identity. From its perspective, late modern society, including government, exist to frustrate this desire. Caught in the collision between extraordinary personal expectations and feeble but intrusive political institutions, the nation-state, here and elsewhere is splintering into socio-political shards that grow less intelligible to one another by the moment."