Review of Länge leve demokratin (2021)

Moving picture, 170 minutes

Seen in 2021.

Jan Scherman samples diverse meats as he investigates general problems in Swedish parliamentary democracy: Long hours, high administrative overhead, less willingness to compromise, less room for individual parliamentarians to vote against the party line etc. He searches far and wide for explanations, considering unelected press secretaries gaining more power over policy as a result of social media and more intense media coverage, quantified performance metrics, partisan negativity, the elitism of local plutocrats, the power of international megacorporations, and a general decline in support for democracy.

For an international academic perspective, Scherman talks to Jason Brennan instead of e.g. Roberto Foa. In Sweden he’s buddies with the elite after having been both a journalist and the CEO of a commercial TV network. As a result, the views he encounters are overwhelmingly views from the top. While these are not actually diverse at depth, they are broad enough within their stratum for a telling overview.

The press-secretary hypothesis may be based on resarch by Elena Johansson and Karl Magnus Johansson: “Along the government–media frontier: Press secretaries offline/online” (2021-09-13) in the Journal of Public Affairs.

moving picture non-fiction series