You are here

Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy from Itself

Friday, July 3, 2020

This talk is part of the Greenberg Distinguished Colloquium.


July 3rd, 2020 8AM-9:30AM (EST)
July 3rd, 2020 8PM-9:30PM (Beijing Time)

Participating Format

Registration is required to obtain a ZOOM Conference access link, which will be sent to your registration email or phone shortly. Please enter ZOOM room 15 minutes before the starting time. When the room is full, latecomers will not be able to access the ZOOM conference.

Registration and Fees

Click HERE to register.
Please email If you encounter any payment issues, please attach a screenshot that identifies the issue.


Attention: Recording (audiotaping or videotaping) during the event is not allowed.


The language of the event will be English.

The Event

A surge of surprising populist victories in the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere indicate a steady erosion of trust in politicians, parties, and democratic institutions. In response, democracies across the world are adopting reforms to bring politics closer to the people. Yet voters keep getting angrier. In their efforts to be more representative, parties everywhere are failing democracy. Popular democracy has paradoxically eroded trust in political systems worldwide.

Professor Shapiro makes the seemingly counterintuitive argument that devolving power to the grass roots is part of the problem, not the solution. Decentralizing political decision-making makes governments and especially political parties less effective and less able to address constituents’ long-term interests. To revive confidence in governance, political systems should instead be restructured to restore power to the core institution of representative democracy: the political party.

The Speaker


Ian Shapiro
Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University

Ian Shapiro is Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He has written widely and influentially on democracy, justice, and the methods of social inquiry. A native of South Africa, he received his J.D. from the Yale Law School and his Ph.D from the Yale Political Science Department where he has taught since 1984 and served as chair from 1999 to 2004. Shapiro also served as Henry R. Luce Director of the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies from 2004-2019. His Open Yale Course - “The Moral Foundations of Politics” - has been highly popular.

He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Shapiro is a past fellow of the Carnegie Corporation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has held visiting appointments at the University of Cape Town, Keio University in Tokyo, and Nuffield College, Oxford.

His most recent books are Politics Against Domination (Harvard University Press, 2016), Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy from Itself (Yale University Press, 2018) with Frances Rosenbluth, and The Wolf at the Door: The Menace of Economic Insecurity and How to Fight It (Harvard University Press, 2020) with Michael Graetz. His current research concerns the relations between democracy and the distribution of income and wealth.

Greenberg Distinguished Colloquium

Thanks to the generosity of Mr. Maurice R. Greenberg, Chairman and CEO of C.V. Starr & Co. Inc. the Yale Center Beijing is pleased to host the Greenberg Distinguished Colloquium, which will convene thought leaders from all sectors who, in the spirit of Mr. Greenberg, play pivotal roles in building bridges among China, the U.S., and the rest of the world.

Mr. Greenberg has been a member of Yale Center Beijing’s Executive Council and retired as the Chairman and CEO of American International Group (AIG). In 2018, he was awarded the China Reform Friendship Medal.

This event is hosted by Yale Center Beijing.

Public Event