Departures Podcast featuring Sergei Guriev, author of ‘Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century’

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In the age of information and with growing calls around the world for democracy, Vladimir Putin, Lee Kuan Yew and Alberto Fujimori are redefining what it means to be a dictator in the 21st century. Through the manipulation of information, media, and using censorship, this new breed of despots are covertly monopolizing power under the guise of democracy. 

Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman’s new book, “Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century,” explores these new methods of discipline, postmodern propoganda, and global pillage to control the masses, while counselling the way forward for democracies and the global community at large. 

In his discussion with Robert Amsterdam, Guriev explains the difference between spin and fear dictators, and how free societies tendencies towards innovation can save democracy; as well as current political structures in Israel and Georgia, debating how they could be at risk of sliding into this new version of authoritarianism.

His research highlights the importance of current democracies holding themselves accountable for missteps as a means to reduce “whataboutism” by these dictators for the purpose of mass manipulation.