Category Archives: Launch Event with On Point

Ash Center’s 10th Anniversary Series Provides Direction for the Next Ten Years

200x200logoFBshareIn May, the Ash Center concluded its Challenges to Democracy public dialogue series with presentations by the 2015 Innovations in American Government Award finalists. Local government officials, students, and scholars gathered with the Innovation Award finalists for a nuts and bolts conversation on fostering innovation in government. This model of conversation—one that brings together people and ideas unlikely to otherwise connect, in an environment that encourages candid conversation on important yet difficult issues, with an emphasis on finding a way forward—was a true reflection of the Challenges to Democracy series. This post explores some of the series’ highlights and how it will carry forth in the Ash Center’s upcoming work. Read more about all events in the series including associated multimedia such as podcasts, media coverage, photos, and video recordings.
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Who Calls the Shots? Who Really Rules? New Research on Influence in American Policy

By Richa Mishra

Justice Louis Brandeis once stated, “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” More recently, humorist Fran Lebowitz noted, “In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.” A new study shows that both, perhaps, were right: the wealthiest Americans “generally get their way” on issues that the average citizen disagrees with, from tax reform and corporate regulation to abortion. Continue reading

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First Chapter: Affluence and Influence by Martin Gilens

Below is an excerpt from the first chapter of Martin Gilens’ 2012 book, Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America. One of the most exciting political scientists in the country, Gilens spoke at the Challenges to Democracy launch event, an October 3 panel discussion moderated by WBUR and NPR’s On Point host Tom Ashbrook on the threat economic inequality poses to the health of American democracy. This post is part of an occasional series highlighting the first chapters of recent books by speakers and participants in the Challenges to Democracy public dialogue series. Continue reading

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Inequality Is a Threat to American Democracy. Who Will Ring the Bell?

Highlights from the Challenges to Democracy launch event on October 3, 2013, a panel discussion moderated by WBUR and NPR’s On Point host Tom Ashbrook on the threat economic inequality poses to the health of American democracy. Continue reading

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First Chapter: Plutocrats by Chrystia Freeland

An excerpt from journalist Chrystia Freeland’s book Plutocrats in which the author gives two brief historical narratives, one of America’s economic inequality and the other of political inequality, from the 1770s to the 1970s. Continue reading

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Inequality vs. Democracy: The Boston Review Explores Influence of Money

 

For those interested in further information related to our Oct. 3 launch event on Inequality vs. Democracy with On Point’s Tom Ashbrook, check out this online discussion in The Boston Review on the threat to American democracy posed by growing economic inequality. One of our featured guests, Princeton Professor of Politics Martin Gilens, leads off the discussion with a comment based on his 2012 book Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America. Ten scholars responded in what is a lively debate that digs deeply into this challenge. Continue reading

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Video: Watch October 3 Launch Event on Inequality vs. Democracy

The Challenges to Democracy series launched October 3 with a standing room-only event in the JFK Jr. Forum featuring a panel discussion moderated by Tom Ashbrook on the threat economic inequality poses to the health of American democracy. The discussion was broadcast the next day as the second hour of WBUR and NPR’s On Point radio program. Continue reading

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Inequality vs. Democracy: Join the Conversation!

Post your questions, ahead of the live event on October 3, to On Point host Tom Ashbrook and panelists Chrystia Freeland, Martin Gilens and Alex Keyssar in the Comments section below. The discussion will be broadcast on WBUR on October 4 at 11 a.m. EST.

 

The Ash Center is thrilled to host its Challenges to Democracy launch event on the evening of Thursday, October 3rd at 6 p.m. in the JFK Jr. Forum. Hosting the Inequality vs. Democracy event will be Tom Ashbrook, host of On Point. Continue reading

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Inequality vs. Democracy with WBUR and NPR’s On Point: Official Poster

Here is the Forum’s official poster for our Launch Event on October 3.  The Forum will stream Tom Ashbrook and our panelists’ discussion online; during the event click on the poster below for the link to watch it live! Continue reading

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Broadcasting from the JFK Jr. Forum

Tom Ashbrook, host of WBUR and NPR’s On Point, will lead a panel discussion on the threat economic inequality poses to the principle of political equality upon which our country is founded.

By Tim Glynn-Burke

 

The Ash Center is thrilled to join with WBUR and NPR’s On Point and the JFK Jr. Forum at Harvard Kennedy School to host its Challenges to Democracy launch event on the evening of Thursday, October 3rd at 6 p.m. in the JFK Jr. Forum. Hosting the Inequality vs. Democracy event will be Tom Ashbrook, an acclaimed journalist and host of On Point. Continue reading

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Welcome to the Challenges to Democracy Blog

By Archon Fung and Tim Glynn-Burke

 

Democratic governance in the United States is being tested. Economic and political inequality, shaky checks and balances, unresolved immigration policy disagreements, the ambiguous effects of new digital technologies, and waning participation are just a few of today’s threats to American Democracy.

We regularly study these and other challenges here at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation—a distinctive mix of faculty, visiting scholars, and dedicated staff who teach courses, conduct research, and run programs at the leading edge of a broad array of disciplines.

Ten years ago an extraordinary gift from Roy and Lila Ash helped to launch the Ash Center. Roy and Lila had dedicated their lives to serving the public good in both business and government, as well as through extensive volunteer and philanthropic endeavors. Through these experiences, Roy came to view democracy as “fragile and in need of real and constant hands-on care.” Continue reading

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