The Art Of Democracy with Frances Moore Lappé

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Why can't we have a nation - why can't we have a world we're proud of? Why can't we stop wringing our hands over poverty, hunger, species domination, genocide, and death from curable disease that we know is all needless? These are some of the questions posed by Frances Moore Lappé. She says, "How do we stop being part of creating a world that we don't want and realize our power to create the world we do want?" She furthers describes what she calls "Living democracy." Lappé says, "[M]y idea of democracy is that it is a living entity that is never-ending. It is a social analog to ecology. It is all about relationship and differentiation and complexity and beauty. And it is away from thinking about democracy as something that is finished. . . . [We must] move away from democracy as something done for us or to us to democracy of what we create." She outlines for us how democracy must be taught as an art. (hosted by Michael Toms)


Frances Moore Lappé co-founded the Institute for Food and Development Policy also known as Food First, now in its 32nd year, as well as the American News Service. With her daughter, Anne Lappé, she leads the Cambridge-based Small Planet Institute and the affiliated Small Planet Fund. She is founding councilor of the World Future Council and recipient of 17 honorary doctorates as well as the Right Livelihood Award, known as the "Alternative Nobel."

Frances Moore Lappé is the author of 16 books, including:

To learn more about the work of Frances Moore Lappé go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • What are the arts of democracy
  • Why is democracy not a final destination but a constant quest
  • How can we be better citizens
  • Why is depression epidemic in the United States
  • What are examples of living democracy
  • How can democracy truly represent citizen voices in a true deliberation
  • What conditions need to be present for a living democracy to thrive
Host: Michael Toms      Interview Date: 3/8/2008      Program Number: 3248