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Accountability Holds the Key to Restoring Trust in Democracy

With resources that often exceed those of government agencies, corporations increasingly resort to deception and manipulation to maximize their profits, thereby undermining the public interest. Rebuilding trust in democratic institutions depends on our ability to see through corporate-friendly narratives.

STANFORD – In oppressive regimes, where speaking the truth can result in punishment, rulers often convince citizens to believe in falsehoods. And yet free speech and democratic institutions are no guarantee that policies will be guided by truth, much less that citizens will be satisfied with the status quo. The widespread belief in many Western democracies that the economic, political, and legal systems are unfairly “rigged” is evidence of that. But while today’s public discontent is justified, it tends to lack focus, enabling populists and demagogues to divert attention away from the real issues and possible solutions.