Bruce Bueno de Mesquita: The Five Rules of Power Politics

Democracy, says Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, is the worst form of government from the leader’s perspective.

Directed / Produced by
Elizabeth Rodd and Jonathan Fowler

de Mequita’s latest book is “The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics” (


FairVoyeur says:

This is just relationships on a bigger scale. I think Clueless covered this a long time ago.

GDI says:

Our electoral college did that very well this past election. However badly you think Obama is doing, Romney would have made that look like spilled milk.

planksunit says:


Jonathan McLaren says:

I really like that idea. Knowledge helps citizens make informed decisions. In this regard I feel that our age of information sharing has a lot of promise in helping populations participate more in civil affairs.

samala51 says:


RP RP says:

I have his class as a freshman this year!

Thezuule says:

-Benjamin Franklin

Brett George says:

I would like to remind you that democracy and a republic are not diametrically opposed. Democratic describes any political system in which the people have a say in the government. A republic is a system of government in which the people elect representatives to serve in the government. Therefore, a republic is democratic.

Jonathan McLaren says:

Political parties are the problem. When you slap a ‘brand’ on an ideology it makes it difficult for people to chose sides. How about region-based representation? How about leaders that actually represent the interests of the people who vote for them?

EclecticSceptic says:

Yeah … ‘democrats’ don’t have to bribe the population, they just need the support of large corporations. What world does this guy live in?

AboutScience says:

They’re called Representatives in the States. How much do they actually represent the population of their region? Who knows. My professor said if she would become one, would hold large amounts of polls to gather the ideas of the people she represented and would vote accordingly. She would act merely as a conduit of opinion from the population.

jimmymac333 says:

banal rubbish from a complete charlatan who claims to be able to predict the future with 90% accuracy.

Freezing PT says:

that was beautiful 

AutodidacticPhd says:

This talk becomes much more interesting if you start viewing the politicians in a “democracy” as the group he referred to as the supporting coalition and the financial leaders as the real power politics in the system… all the power, none of the exposure.

CA says:

Political parties are not the problem, people are. As illustrated by Douglas Adams “Any man that can make himself president by no account should be allowed to do the job” .

Rhadamanthus says:

This guy’s one of them reptilians.

Just watch his eyes.

thatsmygorilla says:

Dodge Duck Dip Dive and Dodge

vikingjarl1 says:

Obviously the system

Nssto says:

Politics will never solve shit, it’s all about self interest. They’re a business and as such will spend on propaganda and rack in the goods when they’re in power.

AboutScience says:

I consider a representative (rep) not to be a leader. They r there 2 voice n represent the opinions of the people they represent. Excluding the exception of ppl helpin other ppl in other states ex: disaster assistance and of the sorts, I want some1 who can represent me and be on the platforms I stand 4. The rep should be alil more informed of the circumstances of its populace besides looking at raw statistics. I agree w/ u. Tht’s why their terms are 2 yrs. The pop amount changes n also opinions

samala51 says:

muy interesante

The Nihilism Dance Machine says:

This guy is pretty cool, but he seems fairly biased about the democrat vs. republican thing. I know a decent amount of democrats who are democrats because they want to help the disenfranchised. I also know some republicans who have good intentions, albeit blood-chilling ideas. Either way, fuck the two party system. Re-elect nobody, because nobody cares.

SuicidelG says:

Wtf does he keep saying democrats for… does he mean people in the democratic system or the political party?

The Countess says:

not all republic’s are democracies and not all democratises are republics.
but the American republic is a democracy. that’s just a fact.
the people vote for their leaders, so its a democracy. the fudge factor of the electoral collage doesn’t change that.

France btw is also a republic.

tohopes says:

The word ‘democracy’ is often used that way today, but the older definition is where all citizens (or possibly all citizens of a certain social class) vote together, and any majority of them can make whatever decision they want to make, at anyone’s expense.

In contrast, a limited republic doesn’t let any majority of citizens make any decision they want to make. It puts legislators in offices with limited power and has checks and balances to make it hard for them to change fundamental things.

RinguPingu says:

Exactly what was the fifth rule? It mostly seemed like he just described what you could do with your money, rather than laying down any concrete rule. I’m writing a presentation based on these rules, so I’d be grateful if someone explained this to me!

Jivan Scarano says:

It has often confused me why some people talk about republics and democracy like the are exact opposites. While it is true they are not quite exacty the same, they are very similar, as you say, and can co-exist, which is made obvious by the fact that there are a number of countries whose official name begins with “The Democratic Republic of…”

Eric McMiller says:

George Washington himself is noted to have been against a two party government on the grounds that is prevents progress and divides the nation, preventing the government from getting quality work done.

AnonRanGER01 says:

Then fucking read it again.
English first language = probably from a democratic country
English NOT first language =/= probably from a non-democratic country

Danklord1986 says:

Kinda of a late response but I felt like I had to. Political parties are a legitimate expression of a democracy, period. The only systems that work without them, or better yet, with just one, are dictatorships. Ironically, elections with no parties involved would not only be difficult but downright chaotic at best. By the way, in our current state the difficulty comes from structural problems related to institutional failings, conjectural issues, etc., not because parties are bad.

Uhmu says:

The would be a horrible leader; yes you have to consider what the public thinks, but the problem is that public opinions are more often then not conflicting and a representative has a staff, so most of the time she would be more informed of the issues then the average voter.
A good leader keeps an eye on the public mood, tries to figure out, what actually are the best options for the voters and then explain it to them. Blindly following the public wind can do a lot of damage to the public.

The Naked Ant says:

You can find the audiobook “”The Dictator’s Handbook” here on YouTube, read by Bruce de Mesquita. It is awesome! You should listen to it if you liked this video.

Vinod Nair says:

:p it’s not about governance it was about staying in power

akldjflskdckmcm says:

im strapping you with the brand of libertarian.

AnonRanGER01 says:

You realize your metaphor just confirms my argument, don’t you?

James Scullion says:

This would make an entertaining game, by Rockstar.

Brian Clark says:

this guy is sin-a-cal!

zEDo says:

it’s not when it is 51% vs 49% it is when it is 50% + 1 vote so it can be 50.0000001% vs 49.9999999%

Apolon says:

So, what are the five rules of governance again?

Ahmed Mohsen says:

Update of the “The prince ” book ” !! 

Gary Lindsey says:

The problem with politics is people. Let’s all be sheep it’s easier that way. A cacophony of ultramaroons.

eggory says:

Half of the United States want the country to be more like Europe, and half of them want it to be more like the United States used to be. That’s a very wide gap in opinion, and the difficulties in reaching a mutually acceptable compromise are I think inherent to that problem. The solution is to reduce the influence of the federal government so that the states can stay out of each other’s way and truly respect their differences, and let people vote with their feet.

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