Surviving Democracy: Mitigating Climate Change in a Neoliberalized World, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Surviving Democracy

Mitigating Climate Change in a Neoliberalized World, 1st Edition

By Chien-Yi Lu


208 pages

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Hardback: 9781138061903
pub: 2020-04-20
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Is democracy, in its neoliberalized form, responsible in part for bringing us to the brink of self-destruction and the policy inertia that is doing away with our chances of survival? Surviving Democracy probes the way democracy became neoliberalized and the role neoliberalized democracy plays in our dealings with—causing, understanding, denying, and mitigating—climate change.

Defining neoliberalism as the art of exclusion through inclusion, Chien-Yi Lu treats climate change as collateral damage of the neoliberal order established to ensure upward power and wealth redistribution. Highlighting the role money played in the "free" competition of ideas between Keynes and Hayek, she investigates the resulting global structure, wherein the wealthy and powerful sit above the market and democracy, and the way this structure fundamentally contradicts with honest climate mitigation. Central to the structure is neoliberal elites’ leveraging of the fluid relationship between the market and the state. Merging citizen power with consumer and investor powers is therefore imperative to the success of climate action. While expediting the bursting of the carbon bubble is an obvious answer, it is the discussion of the meat bubble that brings the book full circle, linking our survival to neoliberalism, inclusion, and democracy.

Surviving Democracy probes the role democracy plays in our dealings with—causing, understanding, denying, and hopefully, mitigating—climate change.


"An extraordinary work that ties the climate emergency squarely to the neoliberal world model in ways many may have suspected but no one had yet spelled out in such clarity and depth. I opened this book and found that I could not close it until reading through to the end. It's deeply impressive, rich, lucid, moving, and makes me wonder -- how does it happen that one person comes to know so much?"James K. Galbraith, The University of Texas at Austin and author, Inequality: What Everyone Needs to Know

"This book serves as wake-up call: for US Political Science and its inattention to the climate crisis; for defenders of Europe as a progressive leader on the environment; and, for those who doubt the extent to which organized interests undercut democratic governance. Ambitious in scope, sharply written and drawing on a range of key thinkers, the book offers important ideas on the relationship between democracy and climate change."Justin Robertson, City University of Hong Kong

"We live in a moment of bubbles, and this book reminds us just how crucial it is for us to understand and to deflate them. Fast"Bill McKibben, co-founder

Table of Contents


1. Is Democracy in the Way?

2. "Free" Competition of Ideas?

3. Political Science

4. Above Market and Democracy

5. EU, The Poster Child?

6. The SCAMD’s Judicial Branch—ISDS

7. Surviving Democracy


About the Author

Chien-Yi Lu is an Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of European and American Studies of Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan. Her research focuses on how democracy has transmuted as regional integration deepened and supranational institutions gained more power, and how democracy, in its neoliberalized form, has intervened in our ability to recognize, curb, and cope with climate change.

About the Series

Environmental Politics

Over recent years environmental politics has moved from a peripheral interest to a central concern within the discipline of politics. This series aims to reinforce this trend through the publication of books that investigate the nature of contemporary environmental politics and show the centrality of environmental politics to the study of politics per se. The series understands politics in a broad sense and books will focus on mainstream issues such as the policy process and new social movements as well as emerging areas such as cultural politics and political economy. Books in the series will analyse contemporary political practices with regards to the environment and/or explore possible future directions for the ‘greening’ of contemporary politics. The series will be of interest not only to academics and students working in the environmental field, but will also demand to be read within the broader discipline.

The series consists of two strands:

Environmental Politics addresses the needs of students and teachers, and the titles are published in paperback and hardback.

Routledge Research in Environmental Politics presents innovative new research intended for high-level specialist readership. These titles are published in hardback only.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Democracy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy