Thursday, November 15, 2018
9 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street
Discussant: Ian Shapiro, Sterling Professor of Political Science and Henry R. Luce Director of the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University
Moderator: Eric Patashnik, Julis-Rabinowitz Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and Director of MPA Program, Brown University
Many Americans are concerned about the dysfunction and lack of effective problem-solving from Washington, DC, but what are the sources of our political problems and how do we address them? In this panel, a former CEO (Katherine M. Gehl) and a leading professor of business (Michael E. Porter, Harvard University) offer a new approach to understanding the poor performance of the US political system. They argue that our governance problems are not due to the parties’ ideological incoherence, or because of an increasingly polarized American public. Those who focus on these reasons, they argue, are looking in the wrong places.
Drawing on insights from research on industrial organizations, Gehl and Porter argue that our political problems are not due to a single cause, but rather to a failure of the nature of the political competition in American democracy. This type of analysis has been used for decades to understand competition in other industries and sheds new light on the failure of politics because politics in America has become, in Gehl and Porter's view, a major industry that works like other industries.
Gehl and Porter use this lens to put forth an "investment" thesis for political reform and renewal and discuss the changes that would be needed to better align the US political system with the public interest and make progress on the nation’s problems.
Political scientist Ian Shapiro (Yale) will offer commentary.