Brad De Long delong at econ.Berkeley.EDU
Tue Jul 21 19:52:42 PDT 1998

>I don't think we are so inherently stable as a people--as if we had
>some shared cultural virtue. Our appearant stability is just a
>by-product of the complexity of the socio-political bureaucratic
>structure we live under. And this complexity is no product of our
>genius or the founding fathers' or the wonderment and creativity of
>capitalism. It is a consequence of history, time, and the endless
>process of refinements, performed over and over.
>In fact, we are so damned stable that we don't seemed to be able
>change anything even when we want to or need to. The one proviso here
>is the increasing homogeneity that is evolving from the capitalist
>concentration of wealth into fewer and fewer peoples' hands, and the
>ability of a very few people to determine what and what isn't an
>economically and socio-politically viable (ie. profitable)

There is a sense in which the U.S. political system is broken-as-designed--perhaps as James Madison and company intended it to be. At the Federal level, you need to have the President *and* a majority of the House of Representatives *and* 60 out of 100 Senators (elected over a six year period) in order to get anything accomplished at all. This means that a rapid installation of social democracy in the U.S. in a manner like that of Britain's Atlee government is impossible. It also means that a rapid deinstallation of (our feeble shadow of) social democracy like that of Britain's Thatcher government is impossible as well...

Brad DeLong

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