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Cafe-ers, cafites, and connoisseurs of quality conversation! Thought it might be interesting to create a space for folks interested in pursuing domestic policy jobs/research, particularly given the general conversation here in Government Affairs tends to lean IR. Come, introduce yourself, explore specific policy interests, what you're doing/looking forward to/worried about, or predict where you feel the field is headed under the Trump administration and beyond... 

For me, I'll be starting my MPP program at Duke in the fall, believe the United States is due for a serious re-tooling of government's organizational structure to reflect the third-industrial-revolution economy, and think state government and action-oriented think tanks are where most innovation will take place in the next decade-plus. 

What about you?

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I hope you're right because the sectors you pegged for vitalization are where I want to go.  Also headed to Sanford, looking to create my own specialty in corporate and campaign finance reform.  Some faculty have recommended that I take courses at the law school as well.  I look forward to getting to know you. . .

Edited by 3dender
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The state policies are already starting to get creative (thinking about Nevada's Medicaid for all reform, California's single payer legislation on healthcare, among others). I think NC is taking a look at their gerrymandering issue right now, and there's a concurrent class on the topic at Sanford. 

What got you interested in those topics? 

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Basically, whenever I look at the most serious issues -- environment, education, healthcare, poverty, unnecessary war, mass incarceration, etc. -- I notice that in large part the political will is never there to fix them.  The reason the political will isn't there is that politicians know who butters their bread (and it's not their constituents). Until that changes, I don't believe anything else will.  So by my logic, getting money out of politics is the single most crucial issue of them all, the first domino if you will.  Figuring out how to do that and working toward it will make for constructive and fulfilling work.

But yes as a tangential concern I'm very interested in voter suppression and gerrymandering, and I'm particularly interested in the work they're doing at POLIS. I saw that course you're talking about, and will take it if at all possible. I guess you could say my primary interest is democracy-boosting.  

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Yeah, the logic of reducing money's role in politics as a necessary first step towards solving broader concerns has always made sense to me, but on some level I think the broader challenge, especially with the environment, is attempting to effect policies with concentrated losses and distributed gains. Any policy solution with very clear losers and vague winners will be difficult to advance in the American political system. 

Interestingly, the problems of mass incarceration, poverty, and unnecessary war have concentrated costs (among minority and military communities, predominantly, the latter being limited to an increasingly small, Southern and Midwestern profile), but the challenges are faced among groups disenfranchised by the money-in-politics system. Is there a cause and effect here? I don't know; it seems to me that policy solutions in these categories have received sufficient attention, but are consistently framed in ways that are susceptible to fear-based efforts -- Willie Horton in the first Bush campaign, "class warfare" and a zero-sum economy where someone winning necessarily means someone else losing, the War in Iraq and WMDs come to mind. 

Still, taking money out of politics can only help advance progressive-populist causes. 

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I like the way you frame the issues.  I think there's a definite relationship between disenfranchised people bearing a heavier societal burden, whether cause/effect or otherwise I'm not sure.  I also think your penultimate sentence is interesting when you talk of issues being framed.  You word it passively, but it's important to remember who is doing the framing.  Identifying the framers points straight back to the factions whose power must be limited by campaign/corporate reform.

But enough about me.  What do you plan on specializing in at Sanford?

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Agreed, but I'd hesitate to say the politics of fear have been monopolized by a single party or political faction. 

The various government innovation programs, especially the ones focusing on applications of behavioral economics, seem very interesting, but I doubt I'll pick one of the pre-packaged concentrations. There are two overarching policy questions I'm interested in: 1) How can we democratize economic power? (Sub-problems include the oligopolization/monopolization of a variety of sectors, the decline in entrepreneurship, impact of automation, AI etc.) 2) How can we make government more effective at a lower cost? (Given the impact of long-term debt on budgeting, we are eventually going to have to refashion government for the 21st century, designing a system that embeds information connectivity into its DNA as opposed to building an interagency task force on top of the existing architecture. What does that look like? How do we do more with less?). 

Eventually I'll settle on some hyper-specific topic to dive into (I have a few contenders in mind), but for now, those are the big-picture issues I care about. 

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i wasn't really going to say anything, but then... bang!

'think state government and action-oriented think tanks are where most innovation will take place in the next decade-plus' --

* holy smokes.... the naivety is extreme

"third-industrial-revolution economy"

* government ppl... it's call the computer revolution or something like that

---

but at least they start off with good intentions... isn't that how it always is... until we (as a society) lose them to politics or w/e other nonsense.... sigh :/

 

 

Edited by 1%learnings
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11 hours ago, makingtheleap.back said:

Agreed, but I'd hesitate to say the politics of fear have been monopolized by a single party or political faction. 

The various government innovation programs, especially the ones focusing on applications of behavioral economics, seem very interesting, but I doubt I'll pick one of the pre-packaged concentrations. There are two overarching policy questions I'm interested in: 1) How can we democratize economic power? (Sub-problems include the oligopolization/monopolization of a variety of sectors, the decline in entrepreneurship, impact of automation, AI etc.) 2) How can we make government more effective at a lower cost? (Given the impact of long-term debt on budgeting, we are eventually going to have to refashion government for the 21st century, designing a system that embeds information connectivity into its DNA as opposed to building an interagency task force on top of the existing architecture. What does that look like? How do we do more with less?). 

Eventually I'll settle on some hyper-specific topic to dive into (I have a few contenders in mind), but for now, those are the big-picture issues I care about. 

I didn't mean to imply that the framing was partisan.  Propaganda -- that's in fact what I consider it to be -- goes way beyond partisanship.  It's the same reason that Democrats don't embrace truly left positions like Single Payer healthcare or anti-monopoly legislation.

Your areas of interest sound intriguing.  Your concern for oligarchy/monopoly is obviously of interest to me as well.  When you talk about democratization of economic power the first thing that pops into my head is of course labor unions.  Are you interested in delving more into the nuts and bolts of right-to-work legislation and efforts to counteract it?  I've read a handful of intriguing articles/books that tie the greatest periods of prosperity in our country to periods of strong unionization.  Then I just caught up with this 5-year-old rebel Ted talk that was given by a rich guy who swore that rich people don't create jobs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKCvf8E7V1g&feature=share  The TedTalk people ended up not releasing the talk for Reasons but it's suspected that they were pressured by the business community to sit on it.

Oh, and if you figure out how to successfully de-bloat government bureaucracy I will personally figure out how to submit your name for a Nobel Prize :-)

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11 hours ago, 3dender said:

 how to successfully de-bloat government bureaucracy I will personally figure out how to submit your name for a Nobel Prize :-)

i'll predict that the odds are slim to none for all of the 'backwards' type

let's look at a case example:

* i voiced some concerns

* and instead of others learning, or even trying to learn, these other ppl would vote your concerns down

this illustrates the fundamental problem with some types of ppl,

and the fundamental problem overall

and worst, there's plenty (in proportion and quantity) of these types of ppl in the world

Edited by 1%learnings
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2 hours ago, Nonprofitguy said:

 hoping to gain some insight into the evolution of the market economy in the early colonies

* there are books and resources related to this already

* have you read and learnt all you can on the relevant and non-relevant (but fascinating) topics?

why merely hope and be dependent on others? -- https://www.hks.harvard.edu/degrees/registrar/procedures/requirements/mpp

* are we also going to merely hope for the future of society? is this pattern going to continue for lifetimes upon lifetimes?

* given the incredible lack of comparative progress & innovation -- in some unmentionable fields & areas

 

Edited by 1%learnings
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36 minutes ago, 1%learnings said:

* there are books and resources related to this already

* have you read and learnt all you can on the relevant and non-relevant (but fascinating) topics?

why merely hope and be dependent on others? -- https://www.hks.harvard.edu/degrees/registrar/procedures/requirements/mpp

* are we also going to merely hope for the future of society? is this pattern going to continue for lifetimes upon lifetimes?

* given the incredible lack of comparative progress & innovation -- in some unmentionable fields & areas

 

Whoosh - that's a quote from Good Will Hunting: 


 

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21 hours ago, 1%learnings said:

i wasn't really going to say anything, but then... bang!

'think state government and action-oriented think tanks are where most innovation will take place in the next decade-plus' --

* holy smokes.... the naivety is extreme

"third-industrial-revolution economy"

* government ppl... it's call the computer revolution or something like that

---

but at least they start off with good intentions... isn't that how it always is... until we (as a society) lose them to politics or w/e other nonsense.... sigh :/

 

 

First, let's work on the reading comprehension. The most innovation does not necessarily represent significant progress, simply more than the federal government (which is where many of my colleagues interested in policy tend to want to end up). Second, let's work on building an actual argument beyond the ad hominem attacks. Snark on the internet is fun but is pretty vacuous in a conversation about policy and our shared field. Third, read Gordon's Rise and Fall of American Growth for a clear definition of the third industrial revolution, which while it includes the digital revolution, is not limited to it -- I did come from the private sector after all ;)

But hey! I'm glad you think I have good intentions. Just know it's not reciprocated.  

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Really enjoyed Hanauer's Ted Talk, thanks, @3dender ! It's interesting to think about what progressive populism looked like then, and how populism has been so linked with the current Trump administration. 

Unions are absolutely a piece of the puzzle, and there is a definite correlation between broader prosperity and broader union engagement. Having spent a little time on political campaigns, I'm a little gun-shy with them, however. In my experience, their leadership tends to be far more political, and a bit out of touch with membership. Living in PA right now, we're going through our own right-to-work fight in the state leg, which has been fascinating given the Commonwealth's rich labor history. I'd be interested to see a movement on the left to put the right to organize in the Civil Rights Act -- it'll probably never happen, but playing defense against right to work seems like a path to a very slow death unless broader perceptions on unions in society begin to change. 

That all said, it feels more like a political fight than a policy one (not that I have problems with the former!). 

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13 hours ago, Nonprofitguy said:

I'm headed to HKS because I'm hoping to gain some insight into the evolution of the market economy in the early colonies. My contention is that prior to the Revolutionary War, the economic modalities, especially of the southern colonies, could most aptly be characterized as agrarian pre-capitalist and...

I recently read a fascinating book that might interest you, called American Slavery, American Freedom.  It's several decades old but a comprehensive look at the economic beginnings of the Virginia colony.  Most of my recent readings have been around race/slavery, and I read another recent one that linked nascent capitalism with slavery, called The Half Has Never Been Told.  It was interesting but not as compelling an argument as the other, and I've since read compelling critiques about the author's methodology.  Cool topic though, for sure, and I wish you luck on it.

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