Tag: Robert Kuttner

Time to get our hands dirty

Have we become too comfortable, sitting behind our keyboards and silently typing away our anger?  Has the progressive movement embraced the wonderful technology of the internet at the expense of real world activism and organizing?

I’m afraid this might be so.  And it’s time to turn that around. On Bill Moyer’s Journal this past Friday, economist Robert Kuttner brought up a striking fact that is missing from nearly all of the plethora of analyses – ranging from Obamapologist to Obama hater to everything in between – that I’ve seen of this presidency:

ROBERT KUTTNER: The other thing that’s missing, if you compare him with Roosevelt or LBJ or Lincoln, the other thing that’s missing is a social movement. In all of these great periods of transformation, you had social movements doing a complicated dance with the president, where sometimes they were working with him, sometimes they were beating up on him. That certainly describes the civil rights movement and Lyndon Johnson. It describes the abolitionists and Lincoln. It describes the labor movement and Roosevelt. Where’s the movement?

11th Dimensional Chess & Social Movements

Cross-posted at Daily Kos

I hope the title of this diary will cause people to think.

It should be clear to many that although I voted for Obama in the election, he was not my choice to be the nominee.  Despite the rhetoric of his campaign, I saw him from the start as too closely connected to those at The Hamilton Project, the entrenched, corporate sector that holds too tight on power.  What bothered me most was that the marketing said the opposite.  He is now elected, so what matters today and in the future is his performance and what it means to Democrats and Americans.

Yesterday I watched the latest episode of Bill Moyers with Robert Kuttner and Matt Taibbi.

Watching and listening to the conversation, I wondered to myself how it was possible for someone who many told us was playing 11th dimensional chess to screw up the health “reform” situation (not to mention some other important issues) so badly.  More important, what are the ramifications.  The answer came from Robert Kuttner, and if you keep reading, you will discover.

Economists on Denmark

Economist Dani Rodrik excerpts from economist Robert Kuttner’s (subscription only) article about the transferability of the Danish economic system with interesting results.

Does Denmark have some secret formula that combines the best of Adam Smith with the best of the welfare state? Is there something culturally unique about the open-minded Danes? Can a model like the Danish one survive as a social democratic island in a turbulent sea of globalization, where unregulated markets tend to swamp mixed economic systems? What does Denmark have to teach the rest of the industrial world?

These questions brought me to Copenhagen for a series of interviews in 2007 for a book I am writing on globalization and the welfare state. The answers are complex and often counterintuitive. With appropriate caveats, Danish ideas can indeed be instructive for other nations grappling with the enduring dilemma of how to reconcile market dynamism with social and personal security. Yet Denmark’s social compact is the result of a century of political conflict and accommodation that produced a consensual style of problem solving that is uniquely Danish. It cannot be understood merely as a technical policy fix to be swallowed whole in a different cultural or political context. Those who would learn from Denmark must first appreciate that social models have to grow in their own political soil.

Both Kuttner and Rodrik conclude that while Denmark’s model is not easily transferable, the ideas there are too important to be dismissed by the US.  What is most interesting about this is that while Kuttner is a liberal, Rodrik is more center-right.  Worth reading Rodrik’s post at the least.