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Con frecuencia damos por sentado que la democracia es la única forma justa de gobierno y creemos que es honesto y de sentido común que todos tengamos derecho a voto. Este libro demuestra que esto no es así.
Con una lógica implacable, Jason Brennan afirma que la democracia se valora sólo por sus resultados y que éstos no son buenos. El votante medio suele estar mal informado o ignora la información política básica, lo que hace que apoye medidas políticas y candidatos con los que en realidad no está de acuerdo, o incluso, van en contra de sus propios intereses. A menudo también ocurre que la participación en la deliberación política nos vuelve más irracionales, sesgados y crueles.
En contra del pensamiento mayoritario, Brennan considera que una buena solución a estos problemas sería experimentar con lo que llama «epistocracia»: el poder de los que saben. Pero no se trata de eliminar los derechos políticos universales para entregárselos a una pequeña élite de sabios. Su propuesta se basa en asumir que quizá resultaría más eficiente dar un poder político – de voto – distinto a cada persona. Éste se establecería en función de los conocimientos, la capacidad para comportarse de manera racional y el compromiso con el interés general.
Contra la democracia es una demoledora pero sensata crítica de las democracias verdaderas y un conjunto de poderosos argumentos basados en los datos y las ciencias sociales. Pero es, además, una magnífica y polémica obra que pretende hacernos pensar más allá de las convenciones y lo políticamente correcto.
A bracingly provocative challenge to one of our most cherished ideas and institutions
Most people believe democracy is a uniquely just form of government. They believe people have the right to an equal share of political power. And they believe that political participation is good for us—it empowers us, helps us get what we want, and tends to make us smarter, more virtuous, and more caring for one another. These are some of our most cherished ideas about democracy. But Jason Brennan says they are all wrong.
In this trenchant book, Brennan argues that democracy should be judged by its results—and the results are not good enough. Just as defendants have a right to a fair trial, citizens have a right to competent government. But democracy is the rule of the ignorant and the irrational, and it all too often falls short. Furthermore, no one has a fundamental right to any share of political power, and exercising political power does most of us little good. On the contrary, a wide range of social science research shows that political participation and democratic deliberation actually tend to make people worse—more irrational, biased, and mean. Given this grim picture, Brennan argues that a new system of government—epistocracy, the rule of the knowledgeable—may be better than democracy, and that it's time to experiment and find out.
A challenging critique of democracy and the first sustained defense of the rule of the knowledgeable, Against Democracy is essential reading for scholars and students of politics across the disciplines.
Featuring a new preface that situates the book within the current political climate and discusses other alternatives beyond epistocracy, Against Democracy is a challenging critique of democracy and the first sustained defense of the rule of the knowledgeable.
«Jason Brennan, respondiendo a “Socialismo, ¿por qué no?” de Cohen, nos entrega una apasionada y cautivante defensa del capitalismo, la libertad y el mercado, recordándonos su verdadero valor moral y su superioridad frente a ese socialismo que se escuda en una supuesta hegemonía moral».
Leonidas Montes, Escuela de Gobierno, Universidad Adolfo Ibañez
Phd Universidad de Cambridge
«De manera brillante e ingeniosa, Brennan refuta al más destacado socialista del último medio siglo demostrando que el capitalismo es superior al socialismo no solo económicamente sino, sobre todo, moralmente».
Axel Kaiser, Fundación para el Progreso,
PhD Universidad de Heidelberg
«Jason Brennan ofrece una inquebrantable defensa del capitalismo, y lo hace con humor y estilo. Su prosa es, a la vez, accesible a para un filósofo primerizo como persuasiva para aquellos que residen en las torres de marfil. Este libro será lectura obligatoria en todas mis clases».
Michael Munger, Director del programa Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) de la Universidad de Duke
«¿Estás interesado en considerar al capitalismo como parte del camino a tu utopía personal? Esta estimulante defensa de una sociedad libre es el lugar por donde partir».
Tyler Cowen, Universidad George Mason
«Mediante contundentes golpes, Jason Brennan ataca la defensa del socialismo que hace el G.A.Cohen tardío y, de una prolija manera, demuestra por qué y cómo no es el mejor el sistema de organización social, ni siquiera en el mejor de los mundos, dejando de lado la discusión acerca del imperfecto mundo en el cual vivimos. Su combinación de prosa sencilla y precisión técnica es un modelo de buena escritura en teoría política que debería permitir que este libro llegue a la amplia audiencia que se merece».
Richard Epstein, Escuela de Leyes de la Universidad de Nueva York
Jason Brennan erhebt eine provokante Forderung: Die Demokratie soll endlich nach ihren Ergebnissen beurteilt werden. Und die sind keineswegs überzeugend. Demokratie führt oft dazu, dass lautstarke Meinungsmacher den Bürgern ihre fatalen Entscheidungen aufzwingen. Zumal die Mehrheit der Wähler uninformiert ist, grundlegende ökonomische und politische Zusammenhänge nicht begreift, aber dennoch maßgeblich Einfluss auf die Politik ausübt. Der renommierte Philosoph stellt fest: Das Wahlrecht sollte kein universales Menschenrecht sein, sondern nur verantwortungsvollen, informierten Menschen mit politischen Kompetenzen zustehen. Mit Verve und prägnanten Beispielen zeigt er, dass eine gemäßigte Epistokratie – eine Herrschaft der Wissenden – die sinnvollere Regierungsform im 21. Jahrhundert ist.
Most economists believe capitalism is a compromise with selfish human nature. As Adam Smith put it, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." Capitalism works better than socialism, according to this thinking, only because we are not kind and generous enough to make socialism work. If we were saints, we would be socialists.
In Why Not Capitalism?, Jason Brennan attacks this widely held belief, arguing that capitalism would remain the best system even if we were morally perfect. Even in an ideal world, private property and free markets would be the best way to promote mutual cooperation, social justice, harmony, and prosperity. Socialists seek to capture the moral high ground by showing that ideal socialism is morally superior to realistic capitalism. But, Brennan responds, ideal capitalism is superior to ideal socialism, and so capitalism beats socialism at every level.
Clearly, engagingly, and at times provocatively written, Why Not Capitalism? will cause readers of all political persuasions to re-evaluate where they stand vis-à-vis economic priorities and systems—as they exist now and as they might be improved in the future.
Finger-wagging moralizers say the love of money is the root of all evil. They assume that making a lot of money requires exploiting others, and that the best way to wash off the resulting stain is to give a lot of it away.
In Why It’s OK to Want to Be Rich, Jason Brennan shows that the moralizers have it backwards. He argues that, in general, the more money you make, the more you already do for others, and that even an average wage earner is productively “giving back” to society just by doing her job. In addition, wealth liberates us to have the best chance of leading a life that’s authentically our own.
Brennan also demonstrates how money-based societies create nicer, more trustworthy, and more cooperative citizens. And in another chapter that takes on the new historians of capitalism, Brennan argues that wealthy nations became wealthy because of their healthy institutions, not from their horrific histories of slavery or colonialism.
While writing that the more money one has, the more one should help others, Brennan also notes that we weren’t born into a perpetual debt to society. It’s OK to get rich and it’s OK to enjoy being rich, too.
- Shows how the desire to become wealthy in an open and fair market helps maximize cooperation and lessens the chance of violence and war
- Argues that it is much easier for the average for-profit business to add value to the world than it is for the average non-profit
- Demonstrates that the kinds of virtues (e.g., conscientiousness, thoughtfulness, hard work) that lead to desirable personal and civic states (e.g., happy marriages, stable families, engaged citizens) also make people richer
- Argues that living in small clans for most of their history has given humans a negative attitude towards anyone acquiring more than her "fair share," an attitude that’s ill-suited for our market-driven, globally connected world
- In a final, provocative chapter, maintains that ideal economic growth is infinite.
What does it really take to succeed in academia?
Do you want to go to graduate school? Then you're in good company: nearly 80,000 students will begin pursuing a PhD this year alone. But while almost all of new PhD students say they want to work in academia, most are destined for disappointment. The hard truth is that half will quit or fail to get their degree, and most graduates will never find a full-time academic job.
In Good Work If You Can Get It, Jason Brennan combines personal experience with the latest higher education research to help you understand what graduate school and the academy are really like. This candid, pull-no-punches book answers questions big and small, including
• Should I go to graduate school—and what will I do once I get there?
• How much does a PhD cost—and should I pay for one?
• What kinds of jobs are there after grad school, and who gets them?
• What happens to the people who never get full-time professorships?
• What does it take to be productive, to publish continually at a high level?
• What does it take to teach many classes at once?
• What does it take to succeed in graduate school?
• How does "publish or perish" work?
• How much do professors get paid?
• What do search committees look for, and what turns them off?
• How do I know which journals and book publishers matter?
• How do I balance work and life?
This realistic, data-driven look at university teaching and research will make your graduate and postgraduate experience a success. Good Work If You Can Get It is the guidebook anyone considering graduate school, already in grad school, starting as a new professor, or advising graduate students needs. Read it, and you will come away ready to hit the ground running.
American criminal justice is a dysfunctional mess. Cops are too violent, the punishments are too punitive, and the so-called Land of the Free imprisons more people than any other country in the world. Understanding why means focusing on color—not only on black or white (which already has been studied extensively), but also on green.
The problem is that nearly everyone involved in criminal justice—including district attorneys, elected judges, the police, voters, and politicians—faces bad incentives. Local towns often would rather send people to prison on someone else’s dime than pay for more effective policing themselves. Local police forces can enrich themselves by turning into warrior cops who steal from innocent civilians. Voters have very little incentive to understand the basic facts about crime or how to fix it—and vote accordingly. And politicians have every incentive to cater to voters’ worst biases.
Injustice for All systematically diagnoses why and where American criminal justice goes wrong, and offers functional proposals for reform. By changing who pays for what, how people are appointed, how people are punished, and which things are criminalized, we can make the US a country which guarantees justice for all.
- Shows how bad incentives, not "bad apples," cause the dysfunction in American criminal justice
- Focuses not only on overincarceration, but on overcriminalization and other failures of the criminal justice system
- Provides a philosophical and practical defense of reducing the scope of what’s considered criminal activity
- Crosses ideological lines, highlighting both the weaknesses and strengths of liberal, conservative, and libertarian agendas
- Fully integrates tools from philosophy and social science, making this stand out from the many philosophy books on punishment, on the one hand, and the solely empirical studies from sociology and criminal science, on the other
- Avoids disciplinary jargon, broadening the book’s suitability for students and researchers in many different fields and for an interested general readership
- Offers plausible reforms that realign specific incentives with the public good.
Molti, tra gli esperti, ritengono che nelle democrazie si possa reagire alle ingiustizie secondo modalità di lealtà, defezione o protesta. Sulla scorta di quanto teorizzato da Albert O. Hirschman, in altre parole, anche di fronte a un provvedimento ingiusto di legge oppure al comportamento scorretto di agenti governativi, i cittadini possono scegliere se accettare, lamentarsi o andarsene. In questo saggio Jason Brennan, già autore di Contro la democrazia e filosofo noto per esplorare i lati oscuri del pensiero filosofico occidentale, propone una originale argomentazione a sostegno di una quarta opzione: la resistenza, ossia la possibilità di opporsi a un comportamento ingiusto anche qualora provenga da agenti del governo. È legittimo difendersi o reagire in questi casi? Dove passa la linea di demarcazione tra autodifesa e offesa? È possibile giustificare, in casi particolari, comportamenti di norma inaccettabili come mentire, manipolare, sabotare? Domande difficili e delicate, ma ineludibili se si vuole essere pronti a difendere sempre giustizia e democrazia, e alle quali è possibile tentare di dare una risposta solo disponendo della penna e del coraggio di Jason Brennan.
But as Jason Brennan and Phillip Magness show in Cracks in the Ivory Tower, American universities fall far short of this ideal. At almost every level, they find that students, professors, and administrators are guided by self-interest rather than ethical concerns. College bureaucratic structures also often incentivize and reward bad behavior, while disincentivizing and even punishing good behavior. Most students, faculty, and administrators are out to serve themselves and pass their costs onto others.
The problems are deep and pervasive: most academic marketing and advertising is semi-fraudulent. To justify their own pay raises and higher budgets, administrators hire expensive and unnecessary staff. Faculty exploit students for tuition dollars through gen-ed requirements. Students hardly learn anything and cheating is pervasive. At every level, academics disguise their pursuit of self-interest with high-faluting moral language.
Marshaling an array of data, Brennan and Magness expose many of the ethical failings of academia and in turn reshape our understanding of how such high power institutions run their business. Everyone knows academia is dysfunctional. Brennan and Magness show the problems are worse than anyone realized. Academics have only themselves to blame.
Why you have the right to resist unjust government
The economist Albert O. Hirschman famously argued that citizens of democracies have only three possible responses to injustice or wrongdoing by their governments: we may leave, complain, or comply. But in When All Else Fails, Jason Brennan argues that there is a fourth option. When governments violate our rights, we may resist. We may even have a moral duty to do so.
For centuries, almost everyone has believed that we must allow the government and its representatives to act without interference, no matter how they behave. We may complain, protest, sue, or vote officials out, but we can’t fight back. But Brennan makes the case that we have no duty to allow the state or its agents to commit injustice. We have every right to react with acts of “uncivil disobedience.” We may resist arrest for violation of unjust laws. We may disobey orders, sabotage government property, or reveal classified information. We may deceive ignorant, irrational, or malicious voters. We may even use force in self-defense or to defend others.
The result is a provocative challenge to long-held beliefs about how citizens may respond when government officials behave unjustly or abuse their power.