Moisés NaímAug 15, 2022
The Revenge of Power
How Autocrats Are Reinventing Politics for the 21st Century
St. Martin's Press 2022
Moisés Naím's The Revenge of Power: How Autocrats Are Reinventing Politics for the 21st Century (St. Martin's Press, 2022) is an urgent, thrilling, and original look at the future of democracy. It illuminates one of the most important battles of our time: the future of freedom and how to contain and defeat the autocrats mushrooming around the world.
In his New York Times bestselling book The End of Power, Moisés Naím examined power-diluting forces. In The Revenge of Power, Naím turns to the trends, conditions, and behaviors that are contributing to the concentration of power, and to the clash between those the forces that weaken power and those that strengthen it. He concentrates on the three "P"s-populism, polarization, and post-truths. All of which are as old as time, but are combined by today's autocrats to undermine democratic life in new and frightening ways. Power has not changed. But the way people go about gaining it and using it has been transformed. The Revenge of Power connects the dots between global events and political tactics that, when taken together, show a profound and often stealthy transformation in power and politics worldwide. Using the best available data and insights taken from recent research in the social sciences, Naím reveals how, on close examination, the same set of strategies to consolidate power pop up again and again in places with vastly different political, economic, and social circumstances, and offers insights about what can be done to ensure that freedom and democracy prevail. The outcomes of these battles for power will determine if our future will be more autocratic or more democratic. These outcomes will, in turn, depend on the capacity of our democracies to survive the attacks and dirty tricks of autocratic leaders bent on weakening the checks and balances that limit their power. Naím addresses the questions at the heart of the matter: What are, in practice, those attacks and tricks? Why is power concentrating in some places while in others it is fragmenting and degrading? And the big question: What is the future of freedom?
Moisés Naím is a Distinguished Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and an internationally syndicated columnist. He served as editor in chief of Foreign Policy, as Venezuela's trade minister, and as executive director of the World Bank.
Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network (Twitter: @caleb_zakarin).