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Beyond Democracy

Beyond Democracy [Kindle Edition]

Frank Karsten , Karel Beckman
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Why democracy does not lead to solidarity, prosperity and liberty but to unrest, runaway spending and a tyrannical government.

Democracy is widely considered to be the best political system imaginable. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that democracy has become a secular religion. The largest political faith on earth. To criticize the democratic ideal is to risk being regarded an enemy of civilized society.

Yet that is precisely what Karel Beckman and Frank Karsten propose to do. In this provocative and highly readable book, they tackle the last political taboo: the idea that our salvation lies in democracy.

With simple, straightforward arguments they show that democracy, in contrast to popular belief, does not lead to freedom, civilization, prosperity, peace, and the rule of law, but the opposite: to loss of freedom, social conflict, runaway government spending, a lower standard of living and the subversion of individual rights.

They debunk 13 great myths with which democracy is usually defended. What is more, they offer an appealing alternative: a society based on individual freedom and voluntary social relations.

Do you wonder why government keeps growing bigger and the public debt keeps getting higher, while your freedom and prosperity look ever more threatened? After reading his book, you won't wonder anymore - you know why it is happening and what can be done about it.

Beyond Democracy is a groundbreaking and fascinating book for everyone who wants to better understand current social problems and the economic crisis.

About the Author

Karel Beckman is a writer and journalist. He is chief editor of the online medium Energy Post ( Before that he worked as journalist at the Dutch financial newspaper Financieele Dagblad. His personal website is Frank Karsten is founder of Mises Institute Netherlands and Stichting Meer Vrijheid (More Freedom Foundation), two Dutch libertarian organizations which act to reduce taxes and government intervention. He regularly appears in public to speak against the growing interference of the State in the lives of citizens.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 396 KB
  • Print Length: 102 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007692VDW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #254,762 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
"Democracy is the road to socialism" is a well known quote by Karl Marx. Enough said. After re-reading H. Hazlitt's "Economy in One lesson" which, by the way, was written more than 60 years ago, but still feels like it was written yesterday, this book was a real revelation, and combination of the two, provide an excellent summary for everything that is going wrong in the western society.

There are numerous writings on this topic but the beauty of this book is in its compactness. It is well written, short and straight to the point, destroying the myth that democracy (as it is now used as a buzz-word) and more government regulations are universal solution to all the problems. It is actually the opposite, if people connect the dots, will quickly realize that democracy and the self-fulfilling trend of more and more government and more wealth confiscation which leads to increasingly less free market economic activity and increasingly less personal freedoms. The exponential trend of more government will always lead towards a socialist and ultimately a totalitarian society.

For people that are following the road to self-destruction of the EU in real-time, as frantically mismanaged by the elected and unelected (and "irreplaceable") politicians, every page of this book is like following a play script. It gives almost an undoubted feeling of what will come next.

It would have been great to include more references to the EU (not only the US) as EU was always the untested and mismanaged experiment and as we are currently living and witnessing the historical period which will determine its future, those references would be more than accurate and supported by real life arguments.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book! 4 Feb 2014
By G.F.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
At only 100 pages this actually took me a number of days to read.

I highlighted half of it, most of it I had to stop to ponder how true many statements where.

We've been indoctrinated to think Democracy is the 'best system there is', 'better than the alternative'. This short book smashed those suggestions apart.

I've read some radical books on Economics, Libertarianism etc. This is not radical at all, this is just common sense, that's what makes it such a great read. Not filled with facts and figures, and bloated arguments. Each section is short and succinct. If you think its not heavy enough then there is much more indept reading on the subject out there, consider this a primer, but in my opinion this book does not open ones mind a little to consider the damage Democracy does, its blows the door off. There's no going back after this.

Even though I'd agree with probably everything in this book I was still left stumped and speechless as to how obvious most of the flaws are with Democracy.

Whatever camp you fall into politically you'll certainly learn something from this book. Recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A concise primer on competitive governance 16 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The idea that governments should compete for citizens, who vote with their feet, is beginning to gain wider attention. This book provides a brief but useful introduction to this proposal.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really worth reading 10 Oct 2014
By Adam
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book! Quick delivery!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent well written book, showing that freedom is incompatible with democracy 28 Jan 2012
By Henry - Published on
The book title says it all. And the book goes on to indeed explain quite well why democracy does not lead to all those things which we all agree are good. And how in fact democracy leads to bad things. Most of us claim we want freedom, hence the slogan 'Democracy and freedom'. And yet, as this book shows, freedom and democracy are opposites. Freedom means you decide what to do with your money, your life, your property, as long as you don't infringe on another person's freedom and property. Democracy means everybody else decides over what to with your money, your life and your property. Watch your wallet while the legislature is in session! Yes, you have a vote, but one vote among millions is not much influence. And so democracy has been called that great swindle where everybody tries to be better off at the expense of all others - an anti social system if ever there was one.

Of course, I just heard somebody say the other day, as the democratic mythology goes, 'democracy is not the dictatorship of the majority'. But that is just silly newspeak. Minorities are only safe within a democracy as long as they are tolerated. The majority can and regularly does take away the rights and money of any minority, as they please. Whether that minority be business people, rich people, poor people, whatever. Democracy is majoritarian rule, but also it is a big power grab game, where sometimes you end up in the powerful majority (i.e. when you profit from some new subsidy or regulation or whatnot) and sometimes in the minority (i.e. when you pay taxes for somebody else's privilige). But the fact that in a democracy everybody has equal access to power, and that there is no clear ruling class and oppressed class, does not make it right. It only means that we all suffer the bad conseqences of democracy in turn and we would all be better off with more choices left to the individual and less choices made for us by the democratic system. And the book explains all these points quite well, with arguments, real practical examples, and hypothetical examples.

The only negative thing I can say about this book is sometimes the tone is a bit arrogant. And that may turn some readers off. But otherwise it is unique as the only concise easily readable unapologetic book against that modern God (as Hans-Hermann Hoppe calls it) democracy. Whether you agree or disagree or partically agree, this work is highly recommended. Read it and you will learn very many interesting facts and ideas about democracy, and arguments against it. You may still go to the voting booth after reading it, but it will never feel exactly right again.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provocative and stimulating 24 Jan 2012
By Conrad - Published on
'Beyond Democracy' argues that democracy is not the best (or even the least bad) of all political systems, that all the things that democracy-lovers typically (and rightly) cherish (peace, prosperity, tolerance, freedom) are actually undermined by the principles of democracy, and that there exists a superior alternative system, a free society.

While there exist several more or less dry, academic works critiquing different aspects of the democratic ideal and even a few books rejecting democracy altogether (such as Hoppe's 'Democracy, the God that Failed'), this book is something else: it's an anti-democratic pamphlet aimed at a general audience and written in an accessible, amusing and provocative style, full of stimulating arguments, apt analogies and interesting factoids.

As a popular pamphlet it is one of a kind and it makes for a perfect gift both for libertarians and for their democracy-loving friends & family. While the latter may not always agree with the book's conclusions or arguments, the book is sure to give them some food for thought and to challenge some of their most deeply held socio-political beliefs.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid analysis of our political system! 20 Jan 2012
By Maarten1975 - Published on
I bought this litte boek, because I was intrigued by the provocative sub-title ("Why democracy does not lead to solidarity, prosperity and liberty, but to social conflict, runaway spending and a tyrannical government"). There's an eyecatcher!

Of course, criticizing democracy is not necessarily revolutionary. However, most criticism to democracy is directed at less fundamental issues than the ones addressed in this book (e.g. low election turn-outs, the underrepresentation of women and/or minorities, the role of campaign funding, etc.). Still, all these analyses share the basic premisse that the ideal of democracy is a noble one and democracy needs to be improved, rather than to be abolished.

I will not waste the limited time and space I have to summarize the whole book, and restrict myself to the core message (as I perceived it to be). The authors show very convincingly that voters erroneously value the right to be part of the decision-proces. In reality, however, the chance of actually having any decisive influence (even during the whole lifespan), is close to zero. Unaware of this, people are willing to pay a big price for their 'influence' (also unaware of this price!). That is, in return for theoretically infuencing millions of others, they allow these millions of others to influence every aspect of their own lives! This latter influence, sadly, is far from theoretical. Others determine our childrens education, whether or not we need to sacrifice our lives for the sake of war, the degree of our solidarity, etc.

After reading this book, I no longer believe that democracy is the best (or the least unappealing for that matter) political system. Rather, supporting democracy seems completely illogical and undefendable to any reader with an open mind. That makes this book a revolutionary one.

I was somewhat misguided by the small amount of pages and the 'easy', accessible style. This gives the impression that the political analysis is shallow and not to be taken too seriously. However, this little book offers more insight and indepth analysis than any other book on political philosophy that I know of.

This book is a must-read and an instant classic!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The case against collective choice 29 Mar 2012
By A. de Wolf - Published on
There is a growing recognition among classical liberal scholars that there is a serious tension between individual freedom and democracy. In this highly quotable little book, Frank Karsten and Karel Beckman make the case against political democracy by debunking 13 popular myths about it. One of the most persuasive arguments in this work is that democracy is not a politically neutral system but that it embodies a collectivist ideology on conflict resolution. They also debunk the myth that democracy enables the typical citizen to have control over government policies. The observation that an individual vote has a negligible effect on the outcome of elections is a common observation in economics and public choice literature but it is rarely used to do meaningful work or make normative statements (a notable exception is Bryan Caplan's 'The Myth of the Rational Voter'). The authors of this work do not hesitate to use this fact against democracy and also present a libertarian alternative in which individual choice and individual outcome are more closely related. One could argue that the authors just substitute one ideology (anarcho-capitalism) for another (democracy) but I think that some of their most effective arguments (such as the futility of voting) do not require an alternative political ideology to be effective. Unlike other classical liberal critics of democracy, they resist the temptation to speculate on the merits of other forms of government or offer grandiose perspectives on epistemology and culture.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic little book 21 Mar 2012
By T. Kaye - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This afternoon I read Beyond Democracy. Despite being a small book, in my view the authors have certainly succeeded in creating a 'fully fledged popular libertarian critique of democracy'. It's extremely dense with relavant information and reasoning, which is impressive given its undemanding writing style. I hope many get a chance to read it. Because it's so accessible, for my money this is much more important than Hoppe's 'Democracy: The God that Failed'. I'll be recommending it to people often.

It includes some nice turns of phrase too that I hadn't seen before. I especially liked "People only see what is conjured out of the government hat, not what disappears into it."
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