“There are despots in the so called democracies too. The only difference is that you have a slim chance of beating a democrat despot in the polls using ballot paper, not bullets.”
Make no mistake; the book is exactly what it says! Do you want to know how the big name tyrants and dictators such as Mobutu Sese Seko, Muammar Qaddafi, and Saddam Hussein got and kept themselves in power? Look no further.
The authors brutally expose the covert mechanisms that raise and eternally enthrone the world’s dictators, how they empower a select group of the powerful to empower them, how even apparently tragic decisions cannot so much as budge them from power.
Get a few power brokers, surreptitiously give them fat paychecks and wham , you are life president, the army is in your pockets, the parliament is at your beck and call, and the country’s money is all yours to spend!
The authors bluntly pronounce that from tyranny to democracy or anything in between, it is favorable, even necessary, for politicians to be selfish, brutish and mean if they want to stay in power.
They challenge anyone who disagrees to give up, leave politics and go become an academic.
All this might sound very uncouth to your idea of a democracy, but Bueno de Mesquita and Smith argue that there are despots in the so called democracies too. The only difference is that you have a slim chance of beating a democrat despot in the polls using ballot paper, not bullets.
Moreover Bueno de Mesquita and Smith assure us that even the ballot box is no panacea. They argue that all leaders care about are their own selfish wishes. When leaders do some good, it is only as a result of being forced by circumstances. South Africa’s F. W. de Klerk agreed to deal with Nelson Mandela only because his apartheid government ran out of money, not because he wanted to stop apartheid.
The authors also ably illustrate how in almost all cases, the benevolent dictators benefit their countries. They vehemently argue for the dictator, all the while stripping him naked, exposing his weakness and faults. I love this book because it peeps into the other side of the curtain and tells us how absolute power attracts the corrupted!