Tom Paine, the Bible and wealth redistribution

I enjoyed this interview with University of Michigan philosopher Elizabeth Anderson on how workplaces effectively function as “private governments” and often act in oppressive ways toward their employees. That lead me to this piece by Anderson on Tom Paine as an early theorist of social insurance. In Anderson’s telling, Paine was responding to revolutionary communist […]

Is the welfare state Christian?

There’s been some back-and-forth in the comments to this post about whether Christianity is really compatible with social democracy (or we might just as accurately say welfare-state liberalism). Does Christian ethics require provision for the poor to take place at the local level and/or through private organizations rather than being carried out by the federal […]

The case for American social democracy–4: final thoughts

(Previous posts: here, here, and here.) My summary can’t do justice to Kenworthy’s book, largely because it leaves out the impressive array of data he uses to buttress his arguments. I’m hardly a data-wonk, but in most cases the evidence he presents is clear and fairly persuasive in showing how the policies he favors can […]

The case for American social democracy–3: how do we get there?

(See previous posts: here and here.) Observers of 21st-century American politics might be forgiven for thinking that the policies Kenworthy proposes are so much pie-in-the-sky dreaming. After all, the resurgent radical right bitterly opposes much of the existing welfare state, much less new programs. And haven’t the Democrats largely embraced corporate centrism and deficit-fetishism? Surprisingly, […]

The case for American social democracy–2: objections and alternatives

(See previous post.) After discussing the problems he’s concerned with and his proposed solutions, Kenworthy considers a number of objections to his program, both from the “right” and the “left” (broadly speaking). For instance, one of the most obvious objections is: how are we going to pay for all this? Kenworthy estimates that the policies […]