Historical patience

"It Was Once a Democracy" is the title of the opening chapter of Manuel Castell's book, and it really is like a dark adventure – a kind of political version of the Grimm brothers' stories, where cruel and creepy powers are just as likely to lose their victory like the scared little heroes do.

SOLD OUT is nevertheless far from being a culturally critical sketch or a political lament. Soberly and precisely, Castells walks through various parts of the Western world where liberal democracies have ruled for the past 75 years. In country after country and area by area, he shows how the political institutions unravel. This is supported by statistical material on the book's website at Polity Press. As a sociologist and communication theorist, Castells. . .

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