Summer 2016

Leadership, Equality & Democracy

Nannerl Overholser Keohane

Democracy is rooted in the idea of political equality, but wealth inevitably dictates that some citizens are “more equal” than others. Thus, profound and worsening socioeconomic inequalities pose a fundamental threat to Western democratic governance. In this essay, Nannerl Keohane argues that only passionate and pragmatic leadership—found with presidents and heads of government but also with congressional committees, local politics, and education—can overcome the dangers of a polity in which the power of money so exceeds the will of the people as effectively to veto social change.

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