One of our most important political thinkers looks to the greatest challenge of our time: how to live together equally and peacefully in diverse democracies.
It's easy to be pessimistic about the fate of democracy in multi-ethnic societies. At the end of the Second World War, fewer than one in twenty-five people living in the UK were born abroad; now it is one in seven. The history of humankind is a story of us versus them, and the project of diverse democracies is a relatively new one - it is, in other words, a great experiment.
How do identity groups with different ideologies and beliefs live together? Is it possible to embark on a democracy with shared values if our values are at odds?
Yascha Mounk argues that group identity is both deeply rooted and malleable. No community is beyond conciliation: groups are moving towards cooperation across the world. The Great Experiment offers a profound understanding of the problem behind all our other problems, and genuine hope for our capacity to solve it.
Don't ridicule or vilify: engage and persuade - is one of the many mantras of Yascha Mounk's extremely wide-ranging, highly readable, and fascinating study of how slowly, and often falteringly, we can slowly learn better to live alongside and with each other in our ever more diverse societies. An optimistic realistic vision of the future -- Danny Dorling
Can diverse democracies flourish? The Great Experiment is a bold and necessary counter-argument to nativists, populists and pessimists -- Helen Lewis, author of DIFFICULT WOMEN
The Great Experiment confronts the intense challenges faced today by diverse societies in creating norms and institutions that allow their citizens to live peacefully with one another. It moves from insightful analysis of our current crisis to practical suggestions on how to mitigate conflicts over race and identity-a blueprint for a more optimistic future. -- Dr. Francis Fukuyama, Director of Stanford's Ford Dorsey Master's in International Policy and author of THE END OF HISTORY and THE LAST MAN
A convincing, humane, and hopeful guide to the present and future by one of our foremost democratic thinkers -- George Packer, author of THE UNWINDING and LAST BEST HOPE
In The Great Experiment, Yascha Mounk shows us our history, our psychology, our self-inflicted wounds, and our best hope for creating stable democracies that benefit from diversity. This magnificent book increases our odds of success -- Jonathan Haidt, author of THE RIGHTEOUS MIND and professor at NYU-Stern School of Business
In this brave and necessary book, Yascha Mounk honestly confronts the challenges to democracy posed by diverse, multiethnic societies, while at the same time refusing to give in to fashionable pessimism. He argues that we can and should find ways to build common ground, using good-faith patriotism to build consensus. Anyone interested in the future of liberal democracy, in the US or anywhere else, should read this book. -- Anne Applebaum, staff writer for The Atlantic and Senior Fellow, SNF Agora Institute, Johns Hopkins University
About the Author
Yascha Mounk is a writer, academic, and public speaker known for his work on the rise of populism and the crisis of liberal democracy. A contributing editor at the Atlantic, where he has a regular column, his journalism has also appeared in the New Yorker and Harper's, among other outlets. He is currently an Associate Professor of International Affairs at Johns Hopkins University and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His most recent book, The People vs. Democracy, was published by Harvard University Press in 2018.