The West today, it is often said, is embroiled in crisis. Some see a crisis of liberal democracy, and worry about a reversal of the democratizing trends seen after 1989; others perceive a rupture in the “liberal international order” that has sustained the West since 1945. But as Simon Reid-Henry argues in Empire of Democracy, today’s challenges are better understood by looking at the early 1970s: a period at the height of the Cold War when the postwar social contract was torn up and written anew.
With a sweeping, transnational perspective, Empire of Democracy offers an alternative history of the modern West, showing how the upheavals of the 1970s brought forth a new political-economic order—and how the tensions between liberalism, capitalism, and democracy have culminated in the succession of crises facing the West today.
Simon Reid-Henry is Associate Professor at Queen Mary, University of London, and he joins Richard Aldous this week to discuss the book. Be sure to tune in, and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, where you can leave a review, and follow Simon Reid-Henry (@sreidhenry) and @aminterest on Twitter.