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Publisher's Summary

In the words of economist and scholar Arnold Kling, Martin Gurri saw it coming.

Technology has categorically reversed the information balance of power between the public and the elites who manage the great hierarchical institutions of the industrial age government, political parties, the media.

The Revolt of the Public tells the story of how insurgencies, enabled by digital devices and a vast information sphere, have mobilized millions of ordinary people around the world.

Originally published in 2014, this updated edition of The Revolt of the Public includes an extensive analysis of Donald Trump's improbable rise to the presidency and the electoral triumphs of Brexit and concludes with a speculative look forward, pondering whether the current elite class can bring about a reformation of the democratic process and whether new organizing principles, adapted to a digital world, can arise out of the present political turbulence.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2018 Martin Gurri (P)2018 Stripe Press

What listeners say about The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium

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  • Philo
  • 25-06-2019

New forces break things, but can't replace them

The contest of new voices and old swirls in a stew of new complexity. Old structures of authority and legitimacy wobble. Tiny sub-tribes ("publics," here) emerge, seemingly from nowhere, temporarily and provisionally, often simply to hurl stones at the ostensible authorities, and to disband again. These centers of authority come from our recent past and are in all domains: business, bureaucracy, science.

For some, all these newly moving parts signal a need to cling ever tighter to their certitudes, their (sometimes) internally-consistent walled personal realities. On the web, one can find new comfort in far-flung kindred folks (for virtually any complex of beliefs), with a new bluster since one can bray all day and never stand face to face with opponents. These new structures are weak and provisional, mostly, and not capable of governing, says the author, speaking mostly from the vantage of 2014. But it follows from all this that some new champions would emerge and find some style under which to gather all these threads and anxieties into good old centralized political power. Enter Donald Trump. (Think: FDR or Hitler on radio in 1931.) But Trump too is just another moment in this evolution which, the author is modest enough to say, is too complex to predict. The author foresees nihilism but this is just one possible future or stage. I think it is too complex to call, to multifaceted to neatly model. For fairly recent history and its meaning (which is still plenty useful now), this book is a gem, with heaps of context for thinking about it all. The author is a fine, crisp writer and the narrator is effective.

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  • Perigrini
  • 27-05-2021

myopically biased

If you watch and read nothing but MSNBC and CNN you might enjoy this biased take on recent political events.

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  • Nathan Parker
  • 20-04-2021

Rant from crazy uncle ed

The author has some interesting insights about the role of increased information in undermining trust in authority, but he fundamentally seems to think this loss of trust is deserved. He thinks governments, for instance, promise more than they deliver, and rather than fixing the delivery, they should promise less.

This is a terribly biased analysis. Failure to deliver has many causes and only some of them are because of the impossibility of the task. One horse he beats on over and over again is the supposed failure of the 2009 economic stimulus in the United States under Obama. Contrary to his claims, most economists think the stimulus did work, but that it was about half the size it needed to be. They said this at the time it was enacted, so it’s not a revisionist interpretation of events. He draws the conclusion that Obama attempted a task that was impossible, which is absurd. The role of government spending on economic activity is well-understood; it was the politics that crippled it.

The author criticizes many of the actors in the political arena as being nihilists, but the author is just as much a nihilist as they are when he disparages the capability of governments of doing great things.

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  • AOK
  • 18-08-2021

Well throughout and thought provoking, especially with respect to our lack of introspection

A very well written and mapped out book. Martin Gurri explains in details where we are headed as a “public” or as he more accurately depicts the current public as sectarian. The book provides a good an analysis while trying to steer away from defining a policy.

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  • Lance Griggs
  • 12-07-2021

Good Stuff

This will help clear the fog. Get anybody that is gassed up on anything to check this out. Might slap 'em back to reality

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  • Kyle A. Kiekintveld
  • 03-07-2021

Amazing balanced analysis of the world

The entire premise of this book is social networking is destroying hierarchies throughout our culture resulting in movements like the Occupy movement, the Arab Spring and Trump (among many other examples). it's a fascinating analysis that is extraordinarily well defended.

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  • wallace culver
  • 02-07-2021

best analysis of what is going on right now

a great deal of insight about recent history and possible short future. The world is rapidly changing and this book will get you up to speed

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  • John R. O'Donnell
  • 11-03-2021

Masterpiece

An absolute masterpiece. Essential readings for every American. Generally it is stating the obvious, but stating the obvious in the most effective way I have seen. Perfectly describes where we have come from and how we’ve arrived at the moment we are now in.

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  • Derek
  • 07-03-2021

Foreboding

Are were merely observing the events before us, or are we participants? It is more comfortable to be an observer, or analyst. I just interpret what's happening, then brew another cup of tea. Yes, it is an important work. I want to be an observer also. I don't want to be the object of this mess.

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  • JimDi
  • 22-02-2021

Very perceptive

Great read and quite prescient for a 2014 publication. Addresses the inflationary (in a physics sense) expansion of information in the 21 st century and the ramifications of this on our ability to comprehend and react as a culture and as institutions.

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  • Mr. Oleksiy Rashevsky
  • 19-07-2021

Good ideas but not so good examples

The revolution in Ukraine was presented in a way to fit the narrative of the book. There were many things which the author got right e.g. disillusioned public, role of social networks except the status quo of this country. The mafia style regime of Yanukovich was a deviation from the status quo. When the regime was overthrown the situation went back to the usual status quo which is corruption.

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  • Michael Sweeney
  • 31-05-2020

Excellent analysis of where we are now

This is a clearly argued view of how and why modern political activity has become so fragmented. An excellent analysis.

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