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Harvard Research Suggests That an Entire Global Generation Has Lost Faith in Democracy

People everywhere are down on democracy. Especially young people. In fact, so rampant is democratic indifference and disengagement among millennials that a shocking share of them are open to trying something new—like, say, government by military coup.

That’s according to research by Yascha Mounk, a Harvard University researcher, and Roberto Stefan Foa, a political scientist at the University of Melbourne. The remit of their study, which the Journal of Democracy will publish in January, analyzes historical data on attitudes toward government that spans various generations in North America, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. They find that, across the board, citizens of stable liberal democracies have grown jaded about their government, say Mounk and Foa—and worse.

(Yascha Mounk and Roberto Stefan Foa, “The Signs of Democratic Deconsolidation,” Journal of Democracy, via the New York Times)

“[T]hey have also become more cynical about the value of democracy as a political system, less hopeful that anything they do might influence public policy,” they write in a previous article on their research (pdf) published in Jul. 2016, “and more willing to express support for authoritarian alternatives.”

And it’s among millennials that this “crisis of democratic legitimacy” is starkest...

Welcome to Washington. Are You Ready to Lead?

With the advent of the Trump administration in 2017, a new set of leaders will arrive in federal offices across the nation. The government they will lead has changed in many ways from the one the Obama administration inherited in 2009.

The challenges for political appointees are multifaceted. Those who are new to government will find a very different world from the private and nonprofit sectors, and those returning will find a far different federal landscape. Many stakeholders, including members of Congress, will be interested in every action new appointees take. Not to mention the challenge of managing large organizations. If Cabinet departments were listed in the Fortune 500, these executives would occupy slots in the top 20.

In 2009, the IBM Center for the Business of Government released Getting It Done: A Guide for Government Executives, aimed at new leaders—especially political appointees. The 2017 edition of Getting It Done addresses a number of critical changes they will face.

As new political executives navigate the current political environment in Washington, the waters are likely to be turbulent. The guide contains the following advice to help them hit the ground running.

Seven To-Dos

  • Before confirmation, be careful. There is likely...

GSA's Trump Hotel Lease Debacle

  • By Steven L. Schooner and Daniel I. Gordon
  • November 28, 2016
  • Leave a comment

As the clock ticks down towards President-elect Donald Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration, the window is rapidly closing on the General Services Administration’s opportunity to extricate itself from the Trump Organization’s lease of the historic Post Office Pavilion. The lease—in which Donald Trump would, in effect, be both landlord and tenant—now presents unprecedented and intolerable conflicts of interest. 

As interest groups, domestic and foreign, contemplate booking rooms in the Pennsylvania Avenue landmark turned Trump International Hotel to curry favor with the President, it is easy to assume that Mr. Trump’s involvement in that lease presents challenges just as abstruse as his overseas business operations. Those overseas entanglements may, indeed, require analysis of the Constitution’s hitherto rarely discussed Emoluments Clause. Conversely, understanding and addressing the problems raised by the Trump Organization’s 60-year, $180 million lease is far simpler.

GSA need not wait for constitutional experts to weigh in, nor for Trump’s lawyers to craft a comprehensive solution to appropriately distance Mr. Trump from his entire web of business interests. The lease presents relatively straightforward government contracting issues, and the contracting agency with responsibility for addressing those issues is GSA. To protect the integrity...

How to Stop Being a Workaholic

Americans have a long history of loving workaholics. We revere entrepreneurs who put in 80-hour weeks and artists who toil into the wee hours. Indeed, for much of my life, I interpreted being overworked as a badge of honor. Now, in my 40s, I’m trying to unlearn that lesson.

In my 20s, there was no greater compliment than the people who asked me, “How do you do it all?” Indeed, how did I hold my full-time job, produce a volunteer radio show, host a weekly literary salon, attend a graduate writing program, and write fiction in the wee hours, all while still being a wife and friend? Simply put: work was my drug. Or more accurately put, work was my attempt at self-medication.

Working that hard kept the furious, roiling anxiety at bay that I’ve struggled with my whole life, the result of facing daily uncertainty and lack of safety growing up in an alcoholic home. Its percussive beat behind my breastbone was only ever quieted by one thing: working more. And more. And more. A cycle that repeated over and over. Anxiety, then work, then relief, repeat.

Psychiatrist Gail Saltz, host of the Power of Different podcast...

Why We Have Globalization to Thank for Thanksgiving

As Americans sit down to their Thanksgiving Day feasts, some may recall the story of the “Pilgrim Fathers” who founded one of the first English settlements in North America in 1620, at what is today the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

The history we know is one of English settlers seeking religious freedom in a New World but instead finding “a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wilde beasts and wilde men.”

What many Americans don’t realize, however, is that the story of those early settlers’ struggle, which culminated in what we remember today as the first Thanksgiving feast, is also a tale of globalization, many centuries before the word was even coined.

Crossing the Atlantic began a century before the Pilgrims’ passage to the New World aboard the Mayflower. By the 1600s, trans-Atlantic travel had became increasingly common. It was because of globalization that those first settlers were able to survive in an inhospitable and unforgiving land. And the turkey on Thanksgiving tables may not be a bird native to the U.S. but is more likely a (re)import from Europe.

Two short stories will help me explain. As a professor of international business at Rutgers University, I...

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