Alexis de Tocqueville on democracy, materialism and political economy

Economic Sociology and Political Economy

Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805 – 1859) was a notable French political scientist and historian, best known for Democracy in America, a perceptive and groundbreaking analysis of the social, political and economic system of the United States. This four-volume book is brimming with insights and sharp observations. Let us look at and mull over this acute quote:

“While man takes pleasure in this honest and legitimate pursuit of well-being, it is to be feared that in the end he may lose the use of his most sublime faculties, and that by wanting to improve everything around him, he may in the end degrade himself. The danger is there and nowhere else…
Materialism is, among all nations, a dangerous sickness of the human mind; but it must be particularly feared among a democratic people, because it combines marvelously with the vice of the heart most familiar to these people.
Democracy favors the taste…

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About Shahid Hussain Raja

An independent consultant with specialization in agriculture sector policies, food security, civil service and governance reforms, capacity building of senior government officers and prosecution of high profile corruption cases in developing countries.
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