Democracy in Decline: Rebuilding its Future
Publication Year: 2016
In his latest call to arms, Philip Kotler passionately argues that democracy is under grave threat. Too much money has entered politics, and its donors, often billionaires and corporations, now hold too much influence in favor of the 1%. Meanwhile, the voting system is flawed, too few citizens are politically informed, and many don’t vote. At the same time, major political parties are unable to agree on policies, Presidents are disempowered, and the real changes needed don’t occur. Kotler confronts this gloomy outlook positively with some potential solutions, as well as an invitation for you to get involved in the democratic issues that impact your life. Please visit www.democracyindecline.com for more around the issues raised by the book.
- Front Matter
- Subject Index
- Introduction—Challenges to Democracy in a Changing World
- Chapter 1: Why Democracy Isn’t Working Well in America or Elsewhere—Why Having Elections Isn’t Enough
- Chapter 2: Reforming Elections—Why Are Citizens Not Voting?
- Chapter 3: Reforming Congress—Why Does Congress Perform Poorly?
- Chapter 4: Reforming the Executive Branch—Is the President Too Powerful?
- Chapter 5: Reforming the Federal Judiciary Process—Is the Judiciary Shaping Legislation?
- Chapter 6: Reforming the Federal–States Relationship—Are the States Too Independent?
- Chapter 7: Reforming Political Parties—Are the Parties Too Rigid?
- Chapter 8: Reforming Foreign Policy Making—Who Should Make Foreign Policy?
- Chapter 9: Reforming Government Service—Are Government Employees Efficient and Conscious that They Are ‘Public Servants’?
- Chapter 10: Leading with Vision and Statesmanship—What Will It Take to Restore Democracy?
- Chapter 11: Dealing with the Major Unresolved Government Policy Issues
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© Philip Kotler 2016
First published 2016
The Reverse Pyramid Organizational Chart from Kotler, Philip; Keller, Kevin Lane, Marketing Management, 14th edition © 2012. Printed and electronically reproduced by permission of Pearson Education, Inc., New York, New York.
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Library of Congress Control Number: 2016933356
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ISBN 978-1-47398-050-1 (pbk)
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[Page v]Dear Reader, I hope that whatever your nationality or political persuasion, that you read and think about your present political system and consider how it can be run better and serve and satisfy the interests of more people. Pessimism only makes you depressed and give up. I am forever the optimist, because the one thing that optimism does is make you act. —PK
[Page vi]In admiration of the four Presidents celebrated at Mount Rushmore—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
I would like to acknowledge, in alphabetical order, the following individuals for their contributions that have helped me in writing this book: William Cotter for his critical reading of my chapter on the Supreme Court; Milton Kotler for his visionary book, Neighborhood Government; Nancy Kotler for her critical reading of my manuscript and insistence on balance; Larry Lessig for his powerful writings in Republic, Lost; Norman Ornstein for his brilliant observations in It’s Even Worse Than It Looks; Christian Sarkar for his excellent work on www.fixcapitalism.com and www.democracyindecline.com, and Danny Stern for partnering with me in making this book possible.[Page x]
About the Author
These are challenging times for democracies. Having barely survived the threat of a Greek exit in 2015, the European Union now faces the possibility of a British exit as well as the greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War. On the other side of the Atlantic, the possible impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on embezzlement charges has led to government paralysis even as the economy confronts a dramatic downturn. Further north, drug trafficking and organized crime threaten to undermine government institutions across Central America. And in the United States, where the legislative process is increasingly characterized by gridlock and polarization, public trust in government has dropped to historic lows. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, only 19 percent of Americans say they trust their government always or most of the time, and nearly 75 percent believe most elected officials put their own interests ahead of the country’s.1 These figures are not likely to improve during the 2016 presidential campaign. As the contours of a vicious general election battle come into focus, the Republican Party is facing an internal struggle over its identity, and record amounts of outside spending are pouring in to influence the results of the election.
How should we measure the health of democracies? This is obviously a complicated question, one that can be answered in various ways but can only be credibly addressed through rigorous analysis independent of politics and ideology. Freedom House, a well-regarded non profit organization that promotes democracy across the globe, attempts to answer the question through its annual Freedom in the World report. For the 2016 edition, a team of more than 100 analysts and advisers examined a wide range of issues in 195 countries and 15 territories, and then applied a three-tiered rating system to evaluate the status of their respective political rights and civil liberties. Seventy-two countries registered a drop from the previous year, the largest decline since the beginning of a decade-long slump.2
With his new book, Democracy in Decline, Philip Kotler brings a fresh perspective to the subject at a moment when new insights are sorely needed. Kotler, the ‘father of modern marketing’ (as he is affectionately known), has done more than [Page xiv]anyone else in his field to revolutionize the theory and practice of marketing. His classic textbook, Marketing Management, currently in its fifteenth edition, is essential reading for business students all over the world. By applying rigorous economic analysis and methodology to the discipline, he has elevated what was once an art form (if not an afterthought) into a science – and helped to transform marketing into an indispensable pillar of corporate strategy. One of his core insights is that marketers and consumers are exchanging values, not products. The implications of this observation are profound, validated by the fact that today’s most successful companies place a higher emphasis on meeting consumers’ needs than on maximizing sales. Always attuned to the cultural trends and technological innovations that affect consumer behavior, Kotler has continued to evolve in his thinking over the years. His pioneering work on social marketing, for example, has enabled corporations to embrace social responsibility as a profitable strategy while empowering non profits and public sector professionals to apply corporate marketing strategies as a way to increase social impact.
Most recently, Kotler has turned his eye toward the vulnerabilities in our political and economic systems. In his 2015 book, Confronting Capitalism, he explored the key factors undermining economic growth and charted a sustainable path to shared prosperity. Now, with Democracy in Decline, he aims to reinvigorate American politics with a set of clear-eyed reforms. Drawing on more than 50 years of research at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, he surveys the American political landscape with the eye of an expert marketing manager and identifies a long-cherished ‘product’ (democracy) that is no longer satisfying the needs of its ‘consumers’ (citizens). His diagnoses of the 14 interlocked challenges to U.S. democracy, and his proposals for overcoming each of them, are poised to prompt a robust debate among scholars, practitioners, and engaged citizens. Anyone concerned with the prospects for America’s future and democracy around the world would do well to take heed.Dean, Harris School of Public Policy, The University of Chicago