Political scientists after World War II hypothesized that even though the voices of individual Americans counted for little, most people belonged to a variety of interest groups and membership organizations - clubs, associations, political parties, unions - to which politicians were responsive.
Official boundaries are often hard to see. If you head north on Woodward Avenue, away from downtown Detroit, you wouldn't know exactly when you left the city and crossed over into Oakland County - except for a small sign that tells you.
We never used to blink at taking a leadership role in the world. And we understood leadership often required something other than drones and bombs. We accepted global leadership not just for humanitarian reasons, but also because it was in our own best interest. We knew we couldn't isolate ourselves from trouble. There was no place to hide.
As income from work has become more concentrated in America, the super rich have invested in businesses, real estate, art, and other assets. The income from these assets is now concentrating even faster than income from work.
What are called 'public schools' in many of America's wealthy communities aren't really 'public' at all. In effect, they're private schools, whose tuition is hidden away in the purchase price of upscale homes there, and in the corresponding property taxes.
The curious thing is Americans don't mind individual mandates when they come in the form of payroll taxes to buy mandatory public insurance. In fact, that's the system we call Social Security and Medicare, and both are so popular politicians dare not touch them.
Patagonia, a large apparel manufacturer based in Ventura, California, has organized itself as a 'B-corporation.' That's a for-profit company whose articles of incorporation require it to take into account the interests of workers, the community, and the environment, as well as shareholders.
Sugary drinks are blamed for increasing the rates of chronic disease and obesity in America. Yet efforts to reduce their consumption through taxes or other measures have gone nowhere. The beverage industry has spent millions defeating them.
A society - any society - is defined as a set of mutual benefits and duties embodied most visibly in public institutions: public schools, public libraries, public transportation, public hospitals, public parks, public museums, public recreation, public universities, and so on.
As long as the big banks are allowed to remain big, their political leverage over Washington will remain big. And as long as their political leverage remains big, the taxpayer and economic tab for the next mess they create will be big.
No company can be expected to build a nuclear reactor, an oil well, a coal mine, or anything else that's one hundred percent safe under all circumstances. The costs would be prohibitive. It's unreasonable to expect corporations to totally guard against small chances of every potential accident.
Tea Partiers hate government more than they hate the national debt. They refuse to reduce that debt with tax increases, even with tax increases on the wealthy, because a tax increase doesn't reduce the size of government.
Walmart is so huge that a wage boost at Walmart would ripple through the entire economy, putting more money in the pockets of low-wage workers. This would help boost the entire economy - including Walmart's own sales.