Throughout his career, Dr. Slater was deeply interested in issues surrounding democracy.
In “The Temporary Society” (1968), coauthored with leadership consultant Warren Bennis, he predicted that democracy would win out over other forms of government during the Cold War. In “A Dream Deferred” (1991), Dr. Slater examined the ways democratic ideals had been neglected in the United States.
“Everyone talks about democracy,” he wrote, “but few people have any idea why it exists, why it is happening now, or where it will lead. Most people see it as a merely political phenomenon — which is a little like seeing TV as merely an electrical phenomenon.”
Dr. Slater’s creative output included “How I Saved the World,” a 1985 novel centering on Taylor Bishop, a onetime mental patient who takes upon himself the burden of averting nuclear war. Writing in The Washington Post, reviewer Wray Herbert described it as a “preposterous but thoroughly engaging” story.
Dr. Slater’s marriages to Gwen MacEllven, Jeanne Durling and Dori Appel ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife of 22 years, Susan Helgeson of Santa Cruz; three children from his first marriage, Wendy Palmer of Oak Bluffs, Mass., Scott Slater of Cambridge, Mass., and Stephanie Slater of Watertown, Mass.; a daughter from his third marriage, Dashka Slater of Oakland, Calif.; two stepdaughters, Christie Castro of Atascadero, Calif., and Melanie Beck of Aptos, Calif.; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
For “Wealth Addiction,” Dr. Slater chose a fitting and poignant epigraph attributed to Yoshida Kenko, the 14th-century philosopher: “Since olden times, there has rarely been a sage who was wealthy.”