The good society

Lecture slides for my “The Good Society” course this spring are posted here. The topics:

  1. What should we seek?
  2. Economic security
  3. Opportunity
  4. Shared prosperity I
  5. Shared prosperity II
  6. Shared prosperity III
  7. Health care
  8. Education
  9. Social policy
  10. Is big government bad for the economy?
  11. Can we pay for it?
  12. Other worries about big government
  13. Strengthen families?
  14. Expand our private safety net?
  15. The politics of getting from here to there
  16. What do Americans want?
  17. The rhetoric of reaction
  18. Can the left get elected?
  19. The balance of organized power has shifted to the right
  20. The structure of the U.S. political system

2 thoughts on “The good society

  1. To add to a previous comment, I am very amused that in your lecture series you present “public opinion” surveys in “What do Americans want?”.

    What “public opinion” wants is not very relevant. What matters is what VOTERS want, and in particular what campaign DONORS wnat.

    Policy is decided by people who are nominated by donors and endorsed by voters. Public opinion is a very weak input to that process.

    Also “big government” is not at all what the debate in the USA is about, because conservatives really like big government too, and use “big government” to mean something else entirely.

    What the debate is about is not really the size of the government, it is redistribution.

    Conservatives think that currently government redistributes from the “deserving” rich to the “parasitical” poor, so they want less government, but tactically, not strategically.

    When government redistributes from the “parasitical” poor to the “deserving” rich, they like big government a lot. Consider their enthusiasm for more spending trillions on investment bank bailouts, on defense and defense industries, on security services.

    Consider “big government” conservative G.W.Bush and how enthusiastically he was supported by business and other rentier donors for this massive expansion of spending on “deserving” causes from wars to bailouts, all costing enormous amounts of money, which have made the cost of government balloon far more than “parasitical” spending on social insruance for the poor and unemployed.

    Lewis in “Boomerang” points out that many local governments in the USA have unsustainable wage and pension issues, and he is the one of the very few authors to add that this is caused by conservatives giving extraordinarily high wages and pensions to police and fire protection workers.

    Because policemen and firemen work in business and property protection, and vote for Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats, and big government with high spending on government employees is something that conservatives are very keen if it is funded by taxes on the poor like fees and sales taxes and benefits the rich as in business and property protection and in well paid jobs for the Republican boys.

    The debate is not about the size of government, it is about whether it favours business and property interests.

  2. I would very much appreciate an informed opinion on a concept for universal economic enfranchisement by monetizing the earths resources, and dividing this capital among the people.

    The capital to be deposited in local highly regulated banks as part of an actual social contract, providing a dividend to each adult human.

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