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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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