A New Political Economics--and Political Economy

May 01, 2010

To understand how we got ourselves into the recent near-global economic crisis--and more importantly, how we can protect ourselves from falling into another one--we need a new economics, a political economics.

Obama’s Implicit Human Rights Doctrine

April 28, 2010

During his first year in office, President Barack Obama has outlined a human rights doctrine. The essence of Obama’s position is that the foreign policy of the USA is dedicated to the promotion of the most basic human right—the right to life—above and beyond all others and that the USA will systematically refrain from actively promoting other rights, even if this merely entails sanctions or raising a moral voice. This article details and examines Obama’s position and assesses its normative standing.

Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?

April 01, 2010

“Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?” Hedgehog Review (Spring 2010), pp. 85-89.

The first thing that must be said about Michael Sandel's book, Justice, is that it is a remarkable educational achievement.

A Humanist Science: Values and Ideas in Social Inquiry

March 01, 2010

“A Humanist Science: Values and Ideas in Social Inquiry,” Law and Society Review 44, No. 1 (March 2010), pp. 185-186.

Philip Selznick provides, in A Humanist Science, a remarkable capstone to a long and outstanding lifetime of scholarly work.

The Normativity of Human Rights is Self Evident

February 01, 2010

Attempts to justify human rights in terms of other sources of normativity unwittingly weaken the case of human rights. Instead these rights should be treated as moral causes that speak to us directly, as one of those rare precepts that are self-evident.

Life: The Most Basic Human Right

January 10, 2010

Not all rights have been created equal. This essay contends that the right to life—broadly understood as a right to be free from deadly violence, maiming, torture, and starvation—is paramount and argues that the unique standing of the right to life has significant implications for public policy in general, and for foreign policy in particular.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: The Moral and Legal Case

January 01, 2010

The substantial increase in the employment of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other arenas has intensified the debate about the moral and legal nature of the targeted killing of people who are said to be civilians. 

Bottom-Up Nation Building

December 31, 2009

The tired debate between those who believe in nation-building and those who scoff at it glosses over a major difference between top-down and bottom-up society-building. The starting point for a bottom-up approach is the communitarian recognition that societies — even modern, so-called “mass” societies — are not composed of just millions upon millions of individual citizens.

Behavioral Economics: A Methodological Note

October 06, 2009

When a theory faces a set of facts that are not compatible with its key assumptions, there are several ways it might respond. In response to the challenge posed by behavioral economics, neoclassical economics has attempted numerous different approaches. After briefly reviewing these responses, this paper turns to argue in favor of one of them.

Strength in Numbers

September 01, 2009

Communities can shape our identity as individuals and strengthen adherence to social norms – but how compatible are community values with universal rights? Amitai Etzioni explores this basic duality.

Zero is the Wrong Number

September 01, 2009

President Barack Obama has so far made only one strategic mistake, but it is a major one. It concerns the greatest security threat to the United States, other free nations, and world peace--nuclear arms in the hands of terrorists, as well as rogues and falling regimes. 

Samson’s Children

August 29, 2009

Israel makes me stay up nights. There are too many people who “know” that Iran will not build a bomb (“they said so, repeatedly!”); that if it does build one—Iran is not going to drop it on Tel Aviv (“they are not crazy”); that Iran is merely clamoring for attention (“you know, they have long been ignored and humiliated”).

Eine florierende Gesellschaft

August 29, 2009

Die Basis dieser Pyramide bilden die korperlichen Grundbedurfniasse. 

Hey Big Spenders

August 27, 2009

In an article in May, The Economist praised France for resisting the worst effects of the global economic crisis. France and Germany appear to have fared well in comparison with Britan and the US.

The Common Good Rights, Dutch

August 11, 2009

Veel filosofen geven de voorkeur aan gedachtestelsels die zich concentreren op een kernwaarde.