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[Pablo Simón, The modern prince: Democracy, politics and power. discussion, Barcelona 2018, 272 pages]
review / Alejandro Palacios
The International Office are guided in each State by a series of leaders and, indirectly, by political parties that are elected more or less democratically by the citizens. Therefore, the high volatility of the vote that we see spreading today in our societies has indirect repercussions on the drift of the international system. This book attempts to review the political systems of some countries to try to explain, in essence, how citizens interact within each political system. The relevance of the book is therefore more than justified.
In fact, by understanding the voting tendencies of citizens, shaped by social divisions and the political system they face, we can get an idea of why such politically radical leaders as Trump or Bolsonaro have emerged. For example, voting in a majoritarian system is not the same as voting in a proportional system. Nor do young people and adults, city dwellers and country dwellers, or men and women vote the same (divisions known as the triple electoral gap).
The author of the book, the Spanish political scientist Pablo Simón, takes as a starting point the Great Recession of 2008, a moment in which new political options began to emerge, encouraged in part by the loss of confidence in both traditional political parties and in the system itself. At the same time, the work attempts to vindicate the importance of the existence of a political science that, as such, is capable of taking a popular assertion about a relevant topic , contrast it empirically and draw mostly general conclusions that help to confirm or disprove that belief.
Pablo Simón also combines the practical analysis of real cases in different countries with theoretical clarifications. This financial aid makes it easy for less familiar readers to follow the explanations of the phenomena he explains reference letter, thus making this book accessible to the general public and not only to an audience specialized in political theory and analysis.
The comparison that the author makes of the different political systems of several countries (he talks about Spain, but also about France, Belgium and the United States, among others) makes this book an excellent guide of enquiry for all those who, without being specifically dedicated to it, want to have a global idea of the party systems in the rest of the world and of the reason for the current political dynamics.
As a counterpoint to the effort of knowledge dissemination there is logically a lesser depth in certain aspects addressed. But it is precisely this informative approach that makes the text pleasant to read, both for the clarity and conciseness of its content (not excessively technical and with theoretical clarifications) and for its length (barely 275 pages). In final, a book which constitutes the perfect guide for all those interested in the functioning of politics in a broad sense, its causes and effects.