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Archive for May, 2010

The Crash of 2008-09

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Read these four articles on the Crash of 2008-2009.

  • Capitalist Manifesto, Zakaria (5 pages)
  • Franklin Delano Obama, Krugman (1 page)
  • FDR’s Lessons for Obama, Kennedy (2 pages)
  • Barack Hoover Obama, Baker (9 pages)

All four authors are very highly regarded.

You should also read this “truly terrifying data about the real state of the U.S. economy“. If nothing else, take a few minutes to peruse the data tables (you will find such data  useful when constructing your essay).

After you have read all of the articles you are to type a 1500 word (2 page, normal font and margins), single spaced essay which, in no particular order:

  • assesses what the Obama administration has done hitherto
  • evaluates historical precedents
  • prescribes a solution for the Obama administration
  • warns the Obama administration of potential pitfalls
  • cites all sources given above but does not abuse quotes (no more than 10% of your essay can be quotes)

We will discuss your essays in class. Oh, and don’t be surprised if there is a multiple choice and matching quiz on all of the readings. Good luck.

The Case for Small Government

Monday, May 24th, 2010

The return of big government means that policymakers must grapple again with some basic questions. They are now even harder to answer…

Fifteen years ago it seemed that the great debate about the proper size and role of the state had been resolved. In Britain and America alike, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton pronounced the last rites of “the era of big government”. Privatising state-run companies was all the rage. The Washington consensus reigned supreme: persuade governments to put on “the golden straitjacket”, in Tom Friedman’s phrase, and prosperity would follow.

Today big government is back with a vengeance: not just as a brute fact, but as a vigorous ideology…

Read this comparative perspective arguing for smaller government. And respond to these questions.

Risk: The Story of America’s Greatest Idea

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Slate’s stud political correspondent, John Dickerson, presents this five-part series on risk. I enjoyed following this piece. You might also.

What Tocqueville and his friend really did on their travels

Monday, May 24th, 2010

In Tocqueville’s Discovery of America, Leo Damrosch, who teaches literature at Harvard, has seized an opportune moment to scratch the polished surface and explore what lay behind the oracular pronouncements. At a time when generalizations about the American soul seem risky at best, it is somehow reassuring to learn that even the great Tocqueville was often winging it—and that some of his direst fears have not come to pass…

Read on from Slate

Survey of Germany

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Selections from the Economist’s 2010 Survey of Germany

UK public spending since 1963

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Government spending has spiraled. See how much it has increased

David Cameron’s coalition government: visualising the full cabinet list

Friday, May 21st, 2010

A graphic illustrating who’s who in Cameron’s cabinet and in each government department

Ask Aristotle

Friday, May 21st, 2010

In the name of government  transparency and accountability The Guardian offers the Aristotle program which allows the user to track the record of any given MP.

UK General Election 2010

Friday, May 21st, 2010

A whirlwind tour of the UK election campaign from Slate

Britain’s teeming but invisible average earners will decide the coming election. Neither David Cameron nor Gordon Brown seems to understand them. Read about the impact of class on the 2010 election and beyond.

A dynamic, interactive election results map from the BBC

A graph showing how a proportional representation system would have changed the general election result

A chart showing which political parties national newspapers have supported in every general election since 1945 – and who they are endorsing at the 2010 election

Bagehot offers his take on the effect that this election will have on Britons (“Farewell Free Stuff”)

A look into Labour’s Future

In “Learning How to Share” the Economist offers a comparative perspective on coalition governing.

UK General Election Assignment

Write an 800-1200 word (1.5 – 2 page), single-spaced, thesis driven essay due in response to the following questions:

  • Describe: What happened in the May 6 general election and why?
  • Analyze: What stands out as particularly interesting or anomalous in the election results?
  • Evaluate: What do the results mean for the UK?

Use the articles given. You may also do your own research. Properly cite your essay using parenthetical citation. You do not need a works cited page.

You will present and defend your essay in class. I look forward to it.