Many historians have observed that governments function in cycles of public action and private interest.
Sometimes these are called cycles of reform and consolidation,
If we somewhat arbitrarily fix the age of Franklin D. Roosevelt as 1932 to 1968
and the era of Ronald Reagan as 1968 to 2008,
a new cycle of American political history a cycle of reform is due.
(Gary Hart, NYT, 6/25/08)
That reform is due is also compelled by the fact that there are
at least five major problems that will compel the federal government
to act in gigantic ways over the next few years.
This means that the next few years will be an age of government activism regardless of who becomes President.
(David Brooks, NYT, 7/18/08)
And we've added three more issues to identify a critical eight.
|First, there is the erosion of the Social Contract . Private sector firms are less likely to provide health benefits, producing a desperate need for health care reform.||Second, there is the Energy shortage. Rising Asian demand strains worldwide supply, threatening industry and consumers, and producing calls for a bold energy initiative.||Third, there is the stagnation in Human Capital During the 20th century, Americans were better educated than the citizens of any other power. Since 1970, that lead has been forfeited, producing inequality and wage stagnation. To compete, the U.S. will require a series of human capital initiatives.|
|Fourth, there's Finance market reform. In an intricately connected world, even Republican administrations cannot allow big institutions to fail. If government is going to guarantee against failure, then it is inevitably going to get more involved in regulating how businesses are run.||
So, who are we in all this. Lets
||Fifth, there's Infrastructure reform. The U.S. transportation system is in shambles and will require major new projects.|
|Sixth, a vast part of the world is being left behind. Many of their problems can easily be remedied. Millenium Development Goals of the U.N. describe the problem.||Seventh, our abuse of our Environment and resulting problems of global warming, depletion of resources, and loss in diversity are critical.||Eighth, Womankin is one of the most serious problems hampering progress on the planet.|
Some feel that we have the possibility of major change in our worldview. While such things can easily take centuries, we see reasons for encouragement. and we can easily fit NSP and many other emerging sensibilities into it. Opportunities for despair and complaint abound (see excerpt from Bill Moyers' new book, "Moyers on Democracy" ), Here are some ideas that are imperfect in our realization of them, but they are powerful ideas that set the recent century distinctly apart from earlier times.