Home » The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government by Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer

The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government by Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer

In a little more than a year, the presidential election will be over; the winners will be celebrating, the losers will be looking forward to the collapse of our economy/nation/way-of life or planning for the next election and the country will pretty much be back where we were before the election.  It will be “business (government) as usual.”

I have read a book that proposes that this is the greater part of our problem: Government as usual.   The book is The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government by Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer.  Many of the reviews I’ve read  have said that this is a short book, which it is.  It could have been much longer and I would have continued reading, I found the ideas and proposals of the authors so relevant and hopeful for our nation.

The authors propose that our usual way of looking at the world, democracy, and the economy is dictated by “machinebrain” and is predicated upon stability, predictability, and self-correction.  A new, more effective way would be to picture a garden, which needs to be planned, tended, and changed as conditions demand.  And we are all the gardeners.

Within this construct, certain principles emerge:

  • True self-interest is mutual interest.
  • Society becomes how you behave.
  • We’re all better off when we’re all better off.
  • Big what, Small how (Federal government with a greater hand in setting national goals and purposes and a lighter touch in how we reach those goals.)
  • We reap what we sow.

Within these principles, the authors address many of the ideas, concerns and fears that are the focus of the presidential campaigns.  Fortunately, their approach is much less biased than what we are hearing from the parties involved in the election.  That gives me hope.

In the meantime, I suggest you read this short book.  It will take less time than many of the things you’ve already read, or posted, or reposted, or “liked”, or argued against.  And it might just give us all a place to begin after the election.