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Forum III (Summer 2017)

The President's House Is Empty: Losing and Gaining Public Goods

Many of the critical issues of our time—from clean water to health care to schools—are about public goods, things that are owed to the members of a democratic society. In the United States, these goods are endangered and access to them is constricted by class and race. Against this background, Trump’s nearly empty White House stands as a symbol of the crisis our democracy faces. In this Forum we consider public goods: what they are, how to provide them, how to ensure equitable access. The debate about public goods is at heart a debate about what it means to be an American. What is at stake is not only what we owe to each other but who we are.


Forum: Losing and Gaining Public Goods

K. Sabeel Rahman
Elaine Kamarck
Michael Hardt
Jacob T. Levy
Lauren Jacobs
Joshua Cohen
K. Sabeel Rahman


Bonnie Honig

Opting out, as Trump has done with the White House, is a neoliberal habit. But who bears the cost?

Bernardo Zacka

Following Trump's election, bureaucracy has gone from being a thorn in the side of democracy to being its saving grace. But bureaucrats are also frontline workers who grapple independently with complex questions of democracy.

Marshall Steinbaum

When higher education is a prerequisite for getting a job that pays better than minimum wage, we cannot stop until it is free and accessible to all. The good news is we have done this once before.

Tracey L. Meares

Policing as we know it must be abolished before it can be transformed.

Julian C. Chambliss

Mar-a-Lago is the apotheosis of the Florida Dream in which wealthy interests degrade the environment and hollow out prospects for the poor. But as Hurricane Irma shows, this dream was never sustainable.

Meghan O’Gieblyn
From the Great Lakes to the Flint River, we have devastated our waters through negligence, lethargy, and good intentions.


Shane McCrae

The Role of the Negro in the Work of Art

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Craig Santos Perez

A Make-Believe Nation

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Sally Ball

Soon Scrap Heap

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