Monthly Archives: April 2010

AmericaSpeaks national discussion of the budget and the economy

Facebook0 Twitter0Total0AmericaSpeaks, a group that promotes public deliberations, will organize a national discussion about the budget on June 26, 2010. Americans will meet in large groups in up to 20 different cities, and also in online discussions and smaller community … Continue reading

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the shame of our prisons

Facebook0 Twitter0Total0I’ve been reading the report of the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons (PDF). It tells basically a tragic and horrifying story, although it also cites some individual prisons and even whole states that have achieved dramatically … Continue reading

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fictional stories about collective agency

Facebook0 Twitter0Total0(In DC briefly, for a class at Georgetown Law School) Are there fictional stories–novels, movies, long poems, or works in other formats–that depict networks or other large groups of people who improve the world? There are fictions about individuals … Continue reading

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classroom practice from an ethical perspective

Facebook0 Twitter0Total0(Madison, WI) I am here for one of a series of meetings organized by University of Wisconsin Professor Diana Hess and funded by the Spencer Foundation. Diana and her colleagues have assembled remarkable empirical data about high school students … Continue reading

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graphs of the day: health spending, health outcomes

Facebook0 Twitter0Total0The total proportion of our economy devoted to health care has increased from 7 percent in 1972 to 16 percent in 2006: Yet the proportion of Americans who consider their own health to be “excellent” is slightly lower than … Continue reading

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participatory budgeting in Chicago

Facebook0 Twitter0Total0Participatory budgeting started in Brazil, when residents of poor urban neighborhoods were given control over capital budgets. They now meet in large groups and decide how to spend government funds deliberatively. The outcomes of participatory budgeting in Brazil include … Continue reading

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philosophers dispensing advice

Facebook0 Twitter0Total0Yesterday, for fun, I posted a clip of the philosopher Jonathan Dancy on the Late Late Show. His interview raises an interesting and serious question. Asked whether philosophers should dispense moral advice, Dancy says: No. I would agree with … Continue reading

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a philosopher hits the big time

Facebook0 Twitter0Total0I’m an adherent of a very small and obscure philosophical school called “particularism.” (Of course, because I’m an academic, I have to have my own special flavor of it.) The best known particularist is Jonathan Dancy, whom I only … Continue reading

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students are not customers

Facebook0 Twitter0Total0Colleges and universities commonly talk about serving “customers.” For example, Tufts University officially promotes a “Customer Focus” for its employees, which means: “Pay attention to and focus on customer satisfaction • Develop effective and appropriate relationships with customers • … Continue reading

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joining the Tufts Roundtable

Facebook0 Twitter0Total0As of yesterday, all my blog posts are being syndicated on the Tufts Roundtable. That’s a student-run organization that started with a regular magazine devoted to policy issues. The magazine deliberately mixes liberal and conservative (and other) articles, all … Continue reading

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