Partisan loyalties and antagonism toward other groups, a deep psychological predisposition in humankind, can become mutually destructive when a society has deep economic disparities. Is there a path forward?
A popular theme in science fiction and Hollywood movies is the idea of a do-over in life. What if income had been distributed in this country over the past 30 years the same way it was in the 1950s and 1960s? It would be a very different country.
The “land of opportunity,” rags-to-riches dream has long been a part of the American narrative, but it is sadly out of date and now serves mainly to justify the status quo. It’s time to confront this harsh reality.
Darwin’s name has long been used to justify an every-man-for-himself, “survival of the fittest” ideology. But the Social Darwinists are wrong. Darwin’s Darwinism was radically different, and the emergent science of human nature supports his model.
With some 50 million people living in or near poverty in this country, our capitalist economy is falling far short. The Occupy Wall Street movement highlighted the need for a fair society. Here is a vision for a new social contract grounded in our innate sense of fairness.
A classic 1950s book reminds us that the numerical precision of statistics can mask anything from an irrelevant average to a flat out falsehood. Here are some of the tricks to watch out for during the coming election year.
The senior British journalist Ed Vulliamy believes this is exactly what is happening in his own once great country. He sees the recent widespread riots there as a symptom of a cultural collapse. Is our country on a similar path?
The age-old claim that the poor are condemned to poverty because they are lazy, or free-loaders, has been joined by the charge that the poor have only themselves to blame for not getting a college education—the ticket to a better life. The critics obviously know nothing about poverty, or human diversity.
There was a time when lying in politics was viewed as a betrayal of the public trust. Liars were often punished at the polls. Now the reverse is true. Lying often pays, and we’re to blame for this. How about creating a “Liars Hall of Shame”?
The “free market,” competitive, capitalist model that still dominates our economic thinking, and our business ethics, short-changes other social values that are vitally important. One of them is trust. It seems our markets also depend on oxytocin.
With growing street protests and another test of the political gridlock in Washington just ahead, it may be time to reconsider the conventional wisdom. Compromises may have both practical and moral consequences.
Text message to the 99 Percent: “Focus your anger on a demand for a 'fair society'.”
Open letter to President Obama: “If you want to lead the 99 Percent, stop triangulating. It’s time to get behind your 2008 campaign promise and champion radical change. In case you've forgotten, here’s the agenda...”
The Wall Street protesters need a “big idea” if they are to coalesce into an effective reform movement. Fairness is the key, and the vision (and the political agenda) described in “The Fair Society” provides a road map going forward.
From the brutal and bloody government crackdown in Syria to the full-bore Republican attacks on our economic safety net, empathy seems to be in short supply these days. Now some critics cite contrary evidence. Maybe the recent flood of books about empathy are wrong? Or maybe only insufficient.
Multi-billionaire investor Warren Buffet has called for the rich to do their “fair share” to help solve our deep economic problems. The right wing has responded with quotes from the high priestess of selfishness, novelist Ayn Rand. The choice is clear.
Modern capitalist business firms often resemble Feudal aristocracies. However, there is a more democratic model, called “stakeholder capitalism,” that is better aligned with what we have learned about human nature. It is arguably a more effective form of corporate governance.
“Life is unfair,” but we have the power to change things for the better.In light of the multidisciplinary research on fairness, I define the term in a new way, and Iargue that both capitalism and socialism fail the fairness test. I call for a new social contract based on balancing three complementary fairness principles: equality, equity (or merit), and reciprocity, and I propose a set of transformative reforms that would move us toward the ideal of a fair society.