Amusing interview by The Economist of Alastair Smith, a professor of politics at New York University and one of the co-authors behind The Dictator's Handbook: How Bad Behaviour is Almost Always Good Politics. Turns out becoming supreme leader of your country is easy if you're willing to cheat, steal, murder and bribe.
No, they absolutely have to support you on some level. You can't personally go around and terrorise everyone. Our poor old struggling Syrian president is not personally killing people on the streets. He needs the support of his family, senior generals who are willing to go out and kill people on his behalf. The common misconception is that you need support from the vast majority of the population, but that's typically not true. There is all this protest on Wall Street, but CEOs are keeping the people they need to keep happy happy -- the members of the board, senior management and a few key investors -- because they are the people who can replace them. Protesters on Wall Street have no ability to remove the CEOs. So in a lot of countries the masses are terrified but the supporters are not.
The image of the cover was lifted from the book's Amazon page.
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