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The Return of the Public [Hardcover]

Dan Hind
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

13 Sep 2010
Our politicians have ever-decreasing legitimacy, our financiers - their huge corporate risks underwritten by the taxpayerare literally and morally bankrupt. All this is done in our name, the public, yet we seem to have no genuine say in decision-making and no power to effect change. Why not? Hind traces how, historically, political and intellectual elites constructed a deeply ambiguous idea of the public, one designed to serve their own ends and preserve the status quo. After the Second World War, as democratization by previously marginalized groupswomen, ethnic minorities, the youngpresented new challenges to the establishment, governments made fresh attempts to exclude them from genuine political participation, invoking the arcane expertise of economists and the mystic qualities of nationalism, fueled by a compliant mass media. For decades, the public has been told to leave democracy to the experts. Now, Hind outlines a way forward for a new participatory politics, one based on a wholesale reform of the media. After the failure of the private, now is the time for the return of the public.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (13 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844675947
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844675944
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 14.3 x 21.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 563,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


As the official culture of politics limps from scandal to corruption, Hind turns to the only thing that can save democracy: the people. Dan Hind has produced one of those rare books that transcend the world of discourse and become essential levers of historical change. --David Miller, co-author of A Century of Spin and professor of sociology at the University of Strathclyde

If there is a future to look forward to, it will come from the invigorated public domain pictured by Dan Hind … This is a handbook for a very modern liberation struggle. Buy it and help set yourself free. --Andrew Simms, Policy Director, New Economics Foundation and author of Tescopoly

Praise for The Threat to Reason: Fine, lucid and sharp ... well written and worth reading before the next wave of western tanks crosses a border, somewhere in the Middle East. - Rod Liddle, The Sunday Times ... Hind is by no means blind to the stupidity and hypocrisy of the religious right, but he notices that their opponents too often fight them on the wrong battlefields. - Nicholas Lezard, Guardian ... In this elegant polemical essay, Dan Hind rightly quibbles with the supposedly Manichean tussle between the guarantors of the Enlightenment in the West and everyone else. - James Harkin, Independent ... A thoughtful polemic. --Financial Times

About the Author

DAN HIND was a publisher for ten years. In 2009 he left the industry to develop a program of media reform centered around public commissioning. His journalism has appeared in the Guardian, New Scientist, Lobster and the Times Literary Supplement. His first book, The Threat to Reason, was published by Verso in 2007.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vital reading 19 Aug 2011
Having been frustrated with the mainstream media's failure on a daily basis to hold our elites to account I had read a lot of critiques explaining what was wrong and why but no real ideas as to how we can have a real democracy that we can all participate in. Dan Hind's book is a great start in addressing this serious, serious problem.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serious About Democracy? 11 July 2013
Dan Hinds position is straightforward: actually existing democracy, particularly in the neo-liberal era, is crippled by the lack of opportunity for an informed Public to emerge and take an active role in social, political and economic policy. The current dispensation in the world of the media has been remarkably deficient in delivering the facts about the contemporary world to Public notice.

The content of the modern media is for the most part a diet of celebrity slop, lifestyle trivia, mendacious advertisements, regurgitated PR releases, in short a plethora of pointlessness. Bad enough one might think, until one considers the treatment given to important issues in the social, political and economic spheres. Here Hind makes the salient point that a media that in large part connived with the Invasion of Iraq in 2003; has provided a more or less congenial climate for thirty odd years of neo-liberal political economy and signally failed to spot the 2007-8 Financial crisis coming; signally "forgot" that the ongoing economic crisis originated in the private sector and, with a unity that would impress the North Korean dictatorship, declared it to be a problem of government spending and debt (see Kushner & Kushner's Who Needs the Cuts?: Myths of the Economic Crisis); and finally act as cheerleaders for the coalitions assault on the remnants of Britain's monument to a civilised society: the post-1945 Welfare State, has ill served the British Public.

The reasons for these failings are structural. In brief - large corporations control the majority of the media, and the media reflects the interests of the owners.
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