Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

Psychology of Public Policy: Planning Vs. Provision

In Budget Politics, Democratic Governance, Economic Planning, Economics, History and Politics, Industrial Policy, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Regulation, Social Democracy on July 25, 2011 at 11:20 am


All political movements at their core face an internal tension between conflicting tenets of their ideology. 19th century liberalism was split between its commitment to universal suffrage and the fear that the unwashed majority might use their votes to infringe on the property rights of the propertied. Even the Republican party, famous in recent years for iron discipline, is divided between cultural conservatives who would like to abolish gay people, and business conservatives who are happy to sell to gay people.

Within the broad left in the U.S, our divided dreams have often found us torn between our hope that economic planning might restore some democratic sovereignty over the anarchy of the market, and our belief that public provision of social goods was necessary for economic security.

However, I think this was a false choice, and that the progressive movement can learn much if it avoids such a division in the future.

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Education Reform – the Fix is In

In Democratic Governance, Education Reform, European Politics, Higher Education, Inequality, Liberalism, Political Ideology, Political Parties, Politics, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Regulation, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Unions, Youth Policy on July 3, 2011 at 7:39 pm


In any other area of public policy where we see rich hedge-funders providing government agencies with private funds with strings attached, demanding control over choice of administrators and direction of public policy (such as was the case with various foundations and the D.C schools), and financing the opponents of elected officials who disagree with them (such as was the case with the 2010 city council race in New York City), we’d call it corruption by a special interest group.

Yet with education reform, prominent liberals treat it as acceptable and instead turn the traditional liberal analysis of “special interests” on teachers unions instead.

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