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A leading progressive intellectual offers an 'illuminating' agenda for how real democracy can triumph in America and beyond (Ari Berman, New York Times). Since the New Deal in the 1930s, there have been two eras in our political history: the liberal era, stretching up to the 1970s, followed by the neoliberal era of privatization and austerity ever since. In each period, the dominant ideology was so strong that it united even partisan opponents. But the neoliberal era is collapsing, and the central question of our time is what comes next. As acclaimed legal scholar and policy expert Ganesh Sitaraman argues, two political visions now contend for the future. One is nationalist oligarchy, which rigs the system for the rich and powerful while using nationalism to mobilize support. The other is the great democracy, which fights corruption and extends both political and economic power to all people. At this decisive moment in history, The Great Democracy offers a bold, transformative agenda for achieving real democracy.Show more
Whenever you go to your local public library, send mail via the post office, or visit Yosemite, you are taking advantage of a longstanding American tradition: the public option. Some of the most useful and beloved institutions in American life are public options-yet they are seldom celebrated as such. These government-supported opportunities coexist peaceably alongside private options, ensuring equal access and expanding opportunity for all. Ganesh Sitaraman and Anne Alstott challenge decades of received wisdom about the proper role of government and consider the vast improvements that could come from the expansion of public options. Far from illustrating the impossibility of effective government services, as their critics claim, public options hold the potential to transform American civic life, offering a wealth of solutions to seemingly intractable problems, from housing shortages to the escalating cost of health care. From broadband internet to higher education, The Public Option reveals smart new ways to meet pressing public needs while spurring healthy competition. More effective than vouchers or tax credits, public options could offer us all fairer choices and greater security.Show more
In this original, provocative contribution to the debate over economic inequality, Ganesh Sitaraman argues that a strong and sizable middle class is a prerequisite for America’s constitutional system. For most of Western history, Sitaraman argues, constitutional thinkers assumed economic inequality was inevitable and inescapable—and they designed governments to prevent class divisions from spilling over into class warfare. The American Constitution is different. Compared to Europe and the ancient world, America was a society of almost unprecedented economic equality, and the founding generation saw this equality as essential for the preservation of America’s republic. Over the next two centuries, generations of Americans fought to sustain the economic preconditions for our constitutional system. But today, with economic and political inequality on the rise, Sitaraman says Americans face a choice: Will we accept rising economic inequality and risk oligarchy or will we rebuild the middle class and reclaim our republic? The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution is a tour de force of history, philosophy, law, and politics. It makes a compelling case that inequality is more than just a moral or economic problem; it threatens the very core of our constitutional system.Show more