A New Progressivism
48 Pages Posted: 19 May 2005
Based on an address for a conference on Law and Transformation in South Africa, this paper explores problems with two twentieth-century approaches to government: the way of markets and the way of planning. It urges that the New Progressivism simultaneously offers (1) a distinctive conception of government's appropriate means, an outgrowth of the late-twentieth-century critique of economic planning, and (2) a distinctive understanding of government's appropriate ends, an outgrowth of evident failures with market arrangements and largely a product of the mid-twentieth-century critique of laissez faire. It emphasizes the need to replace bans and commands with appropriate incentives, and to attend to social norms and social meanings in leading human behavior in welfare-promoting directions. The ultimate goal is to promote some of the goals associated with America's New Deal and Europe's social democracy, but without using the crude, inflexible, and often counterproductive methods associated with those approaches. Some attention is devoted to the effects of globalization, the AIDS crisis, crime prevention, and the role of economic growth.
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