PositiveThe Washington PostIn their latest book...Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson hark back to an earlier tradition of postwar social science, asking a fundamental question: What explains the rise and fall of democracy and dictatorship? In so doing, they offer a provocative framework for analyzing our current moment of democratic crisis ... This framework offers a powerful starting point for understanding the many perils facing aspirations for democracy and liberty today. First, it helpfully recalibrates our American tendency to collapse debates over freedom into a binary clash between the narrow liberty of \'free markets\' on the one hand, and the economic and political freedoms provided by social-democratic \'big government\' on the other ... While wide-ranging and provocative, this approach does have its limits. Polities do not oscillate between democracy and authoritarianism as monolithic states of being ... While Acemoglu and Robinson do not offer a playbook for today’s reformers, their book raises important questions that we will all have to grapple with.