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Now What, Liberalism? - NYTimes.com


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Finding that Mead is far less radical in his thinking than his critique of contemporary liberalism would suggest, I thought I would move on to more quantitatively inclined analysts of social insurance regimes. So I contacted two economists, Richard Freeman of Harvard and David Autor of M.I.T.

Freeman directly addressed critics of big government:

As long as we have big problems — climate change, terrorism and terror states with nukes, threats of pandemics, adjusting to China, India catching up with us, etc. — and have big banks that can destroy economies and big companies which can harm us per cigarettes and pollutants — I do not see what shield we have but government. The solutions to these problems are collective ones, which mean government.

What is troubling is that governments are flawed, influenced by special groups, and so on. But, Freeman wrote

I would rather be ruled by an elected government than the top 1000 billionaires on Forbes’ list — so I don’t think the issue is big government but the way government operates and hope that technology and information and media offer some chance for us to get a better handle over what big government does. Also I am not sure what you can shrink that would not open space for other big entities less limited by law and less sensitive to reaction of people.

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