Is Traditional Political Power Decaying?



Review: 'The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn’t What It Used To Be’ by Moises Naim
The Washington Post
Goldstein describes Naim’s book, published in 2013, as ‘an arresting and provocative thesis.’

He summarises the key arguments of the book which highlight how significant changes – in the form of changing global sentiment toward leadership, the impacts of globalisation and social media – are deconstructing traditional foundations of political and economic power and authority.

The result is, Naim contends, that ‘power is decaying’ in the 21st century, as traditional leadership models struggle to both engage with citizens and command their support in any lasting way.

As Goldstein summarises: 'This new era of political instability creates seemingly insurmountable obstacles to consensus, as weakened leaders on both sides of the aisle, unable to impose their will, consistently fail to avert a relentless series of fiscal and budgetary showdowns, among other areas of consequential disagreement.'

He highlights Naim’s conclusion as one of the key arguments of the book: 'More frequent elections, more referenda, more scrutiny, and more contenders,” he predicts. “All of these trends point to the same direction: the redistribution and scattering of power from established players to more competitors.'


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Gordon Goldstein
Published Date
March 8, 2013