Book Panel on Camila Vergara’s Systemic Corruption. Constitutional Ideas for an Anti-Oligarchic Republic
Roundtable on Camila Vergara’s Systemic Corruption: Constitutional Ideas for an Anti-Oligarchic Republic (Princeton University Press 2020). This provocative book provides a compelling and original genealogy of political corruption from ancient to modern thought, and shows how representative democracy was constitutionally designed to protect the interests of the already rich and powerful to the detriment of the majority. Unable to contain the unrelenting force of oligarchy, especially after experimenting with neoliberal policies, most democracies have been corrupted into oligarchic democracies. Systemic Corruption explains how to reverse this corrupting trajectory by establishing a new constitutional counterpower strong enough to control the ruling elites. Building on the anti-oligarchic institutional innovations proposed by plebeian philosophers, Vergara rethinks the republic as a mixed order in which popular power is institutionalized to check the power of oligarchy.