Today I talked to Benjamin Studebaker about his new book The Chronic Crisis of American Democracy: The Way Is Shut (Palgrave MacMillan, 2023)
American democracy is in crisis. The economic system is slowly subjecting Americans of nearly all income levels and backgrounds to enormous amounts of stress. The United States lacks the state capacity required to alleviate this stress, and politicians increasingly find that if they promise to solve economic problems, they are likely to disappoint voters. Instead, they encourage voters to blame each other.
The crisis cannot be solved, the economy cannot be set right, and democracy cannot be saved. But American democracy cannot be killed, either. Americans can’t imagine any compelling alternative political systems. And so, American democracy continues on, in a deeply unsatisfying way. Americans invent ever-more elaborate coping mechanisms in a desperate bid to go on. But it becomes increasingly clear that the way is shut. The American political system was made by those who are dead, and the dead keep it.
Benjamin Studebaker speaks to Pierre d’Alancaisez about the runaway effects of globalisation, the false hope industry, cultural non-politics, and the very unlikely get-out scenarios.
Pierre d’Alancaisez is a contemporary art curator, cultural strategist, researcher. Sometime scientist, financial services professional.