What can failed governments teach us about democracy?

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Jared Diamond talking about the national political crisis.
Jared Diamond talks about the national political crisis at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
Riccardo Savi | The Aspen Institute

History and psychology can teach us a lot about the future we hope to build. In his new book, "Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis," author Jared Diamond examines what nations struggling with national emergencies can learn from countries that have dealt with similar issues.

Diamond recalls that in 1973, Chile, a country with a traditionally democratic government, suffered a coup d'├ętat due to growing polarization, violence and lack of political compromise. He wonders if a situation similar to what happened in Chile could lead to the death of democracy in the United States.

It's not all gloom and pessimism, however. Diamond also explores how countries like Germany, Japan, Indonesia and Finland, all of whom have dealt with some sort of national crisis, are now experiencing varying levels of success.

MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke with Jared Diamond at the Loft's Wordplay festival.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.