Category: Uncategorized

  • Europe Needs a Public Relations Makeover

    By Steven Hill, Social Europe Journal, July 16, 2010

    The American-European relationship has been crucially important during the post-World War II era for both places. Yet recently it has been hurt by both neglect and design. Even before the Greek debt crisis, Europe had been suffering a longstanding public relations crisis in the United States.…

  • Swiss offer a fix for direct democracy

    By Steven Hill, Sacramento Bee, July 2, 2010

    I recently participated in a research trip to Switzerland to study the alpine nation’s system of direct democracy (initiative and referendum, or I&R). Its model offers fresh ideas about how to repair the dysfunctional initiative process in California and San Francisco.

    In California, it takes approximately 750,000 signatures to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot — almost 3 percent of the statewide population — and about three-fifths that for a nonconstitutional statute.…

  • Closing the ‘Democracy Deficit’ in the EU and US

    By Steven Hill, June 17, 2010, Social Europe Journal

    My recent research trip to Switzerland with a group of other Americans was enlightening, in more ways than one. Besides admiring the great beauty of the Swiss mountains, lakes and picturesque cities, it was a chance to study in depth the Alpine jewel’s system of direct democracy (initiative and referendum, or I&R).…

  • Europe Energized

    By Steven Hill, June 8, 2010, New York Times/International Herald Tribune

    With toxic black ooze spreading throughout the Gulf of Mexico, it may be time for the Obama administration to think seriously about national energy policy. It could learn plenty by looking across the Atlantic.

    The average European today emits half the carbon of an average American and uses far less electricity.…

  • Building a Balanced Supreme Court

    May 17, 2010, New York Daily News

    Oftentimes, American-style partisanship results in Republicans and Democrats fighting like two mindless gamecocks in the ring. Well, take your seats, because nothing brings out this combative behavior more than a Supreme Court nomination.

    President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court will kick off the usual bloodletting across the partisan divide.…

  • Lessons from the Gulf of Mexico: US Needs a National Energy Policy like Europe’s

    By Steven Hill, May 17, 2010, Social Europe Journal

    With the spectre of the Greek default crisis still hanging over Europe, it may seem like Europe can’t do anything right. But with hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic black oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, the United States could learn plenty from Europe about energy policy.…

  • Greek Crisis Leads to Positive Steps

    By Steven Hill, May 14, 2010, San Francisco Chronicle

    Contrary to what the doomsayers have been saying, Greece’s debt crisis may turn out to be one of the best things to happen to the European Union.

    While the situation has been messy, it also has signaled a badly needed wake-up call to Europe about a flaw at the heart of its monetary union.…

  • Europe’s Answer to Wall Street

    By Steven Hill, April 21, 2010, The Nation

    A year and a half after an economic earthquake shook the world, the so-called experts are still trying to figure out what happened and how to move forward. In the shadows of that confusion, new economic models are beginning to find traction. Alternatives to Wall Street capitalism, the epicenter of the temblor, are suddenly getting a new hearing in the United States, whether it’s Paul Volcker calling for reinstatement of Glass-Steagall regulation of the banking sector, the United Steelworkers announcing an alliance with the Mondragon cooperatives in Spain to develop manufacturing cooperatives in the United States, or Cleveland-based efforts to establish worker-owned co-ops in distressed communities [see Alperovitz, Howard and Williamson, “The Cleveland Model,” March 1].…

  • Europe Tax Model Delivers Much More

    By Steven Hill, Sacramento Bee, April 15, 2010

    Most Americans seem to regard April 15 – the day income tax returns are due to the Internal Revenue Service – as a recurring tragedy akin to a biblical plague. Particularly this year, with U.S. government deficits soaring, everyone from the tea baggers to Fox News and Senate Republicans are sounding the alarm about a return to “big government.”…

  • What the Doomsayers Haven’t Been Telling You About Greece

    By Steven Hill, April 15, 2010, Social Europe Journal

    The recent battle over healthcare reform in the United States, in which the Obama administration was barely able to pass weak reform, is just further proof of how far the US has fallen behind Europe. Yet all the media has been able to obsess over for the last couple of months is – the Greek debt crisis!…

  • Inspiration Across the Pond

    By Steven Hill, March 29, 2010, E!Sharp

    Europe is going through another one of its occasional bouts of self-doubt and pessimism. The great historian Arnold Toynbee once wrote, “Countries have characters that are as distinctive as those of human beings.” The collection of countries known as Europe has never hidden its gloom very well.…

  • A More United Europe

    By Steven Hill, March 22, 2010,

    Greece’s debt situation has pundits taking out their crystal balls trying to divine the future not only of Greece, but also the euro and Europe. Every news outlet from The New York Times to National Public Radio has joined the chorus of gloom and doom.…

  • Europe’s Case of ‘Chief Executive Envy’

    By Steven Hill, March 19, 2010, Social Europe Journal

    Every time Europe goes through one of its occasional crises, calls arise across the continent for ‘stronger leadership.’ The perception of having feeble leadership was a major factor in the push for the Lisbon Treaty, which went into effect late in 2009 and created a president for the European Council and a high representative for foreign affairs and security.…

  • Returning the Senate to Majority Rule

    By Steven Hill, March 18, 2010, Roll Call

    Standing at the edge of the health care precipice, President Barack Obama has reached a defining point in his presidency. The recent news that Anthem Blue Cross is planning to jack up individual premiums as much as 40 percent is just the latest example of our flailing health care system.…

  • Can Obama Bypass Republicans on Health?

    By Steven Hill, Feb 22, 2010, NY

    Yes, President Obama should push his health care package through the Senate via the reconciliation process. Indeed, it is imperative that he do so for two reasons.

    First, because the U.S. badly needs health care reform. And second, to restore the constitutional principle of “majority rule” that has been thwarted in the filibuster-gone-wild Senate.…

  • Lessons for Europe From California

    By Steven Hill, February 17, 2010, The Guardian (London)

    Over a year ago, the world economy suffered a massive economic quake – and certain countries have been experiencing aftershocks ever since. Two such aftershocks have grabbed headlines, one recently in Greece and another last summer in California. A comparison of these two events reveals something about the respective features of the west’s two leading capitalist economies, the US and Europe.…

  • The Greek Aftershock – Will it Make or Break Europe?

    By Steven Hill, February 19, 2010, Social Europe Journal

    After the earthquake come the aftershocks. That is a law of geophysics, and now apparently of economics. Well over a year ago, the world economy suffered a massive economic quake of 8.0 on the Richter scale. Since then different countries have been experiencing a number of aftershocks.…

  • Americans Pay Fewer Taxes Than Europeans – NOT!

    By Steven Hill, January 22, 2010, San Francisco Chronicle

    Do Americans really pay fewer taxes than Europeans? Contrary to conventional wisdom, the answer surprisingly is: not really.

    That’s because in return for their taxes, Europeans — even those unemployed during these tough times — have access to a generous support system for families and individuals that most Americans can only imagine.…

  • What a Post-American World means for Europe

    By Steven Hill, January 18, 2010, Social Europe Journal

    In recent months, Europe has learned some hard lessons about its transatlantic partner. President Barack Obama triggered great hope when he replaced George W. Bush at the American helm. But a year later, especially following Obama’s failure to produce anything of substance at Copenhagen, Europeans are realizing that Obama is going to have a difficult time delivering on a new American agenda.…

  • Economic Democracy and Codetermination: Harnessing the Capitalist Engine

    By Steven Hill, January 15, 2010, The Globalist

    In the aftermath of the economic crisis, the United States needs a new economic model — one that will decentralize power and put it in the hands of the workers. As Steven Hill suggests in this excerpt from his book, “Europe’s Promise,” the United States might have a lesson to learn from post-World War II Germany.In

  • Europe’s Post-Copenhagen View of Obama

    By Steven Hill, January 13, 2010, The New York Times

    The Copenhagen summit on climate change taught Europe a hard lesson about its trans-Atlantic partner. Great hope had greeted President Obama when he replaced George W. Bush at the American helm, but a year later Europeans are realizing that Mr. Obama is going to have a very difficult time delivering on his agenda.…

  • Next Steps for Social Democracy: An American Perspective

    By Steven Hill, December 16, 2009, Social Europe Journal

    As an American, I have been following this discussion with great interest. The predicament of social democracy strikes at the heart of several modern dilemmas that will be at the forefront of the twenty-first century. Much hangs in the balance.

    From the faraway shores of San Francisco and the Pacific Rim, allow me to offer a few observations.…

  • Obama Can Create Jobs by Modeling Two Good Ideas

    By Steven Hill, December 14, 2009, Christian Science Monitor

    With the nation’s unemployment rate at 10 percent, the highest in a generation, President Obama could learn a thing or two about job creation by heading to the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

    On display is an exhibit of New Deal-era paintings that show men building roads, laying pipe, and shoveling snow.…

  • Healthcare Tests the Senate’s Credibility

    By Steven Hill, November 30, 2009, Financial Times

    America’s healthcare debate has been like a tennis match, bouncing from the Senate to the House of Representatives and back again. Now it is back in the Senate, as the US tries to end its status as the only advanced economy without universal healthcare for its people.…

  • The Problem Is Minority Rule

    By Steven Hill, October 13, 2009, New York Times

    The health care drama in the U.S. Senate is cresting. After months of hearings–and decades of dithering–it is time to see if the United States is going to remain the only advanced industrial nation in the world that does not provide universal health care.…