Recent Posts

  • What’s Wrong — and Right — With Greece

    By Steven Hill, The Nation, July 20, 2011

    When you stroll around Athens or many other parts of Greece, you see gangs of feral yet endearing cats living off people’s handouts, apparently never wondering what would happen if their lifeline was suddenly cut off. Greece, in a way, has been like those felines, except suddenly the free lunch is over.…

  • Patience Europe, Patience

    By Steven Hill, Social Europe Journal, July 18, 2011

    To understand the present and future, sometimes it’s helpful to revisit the past. In the case of Europe, it is instructive to consider the young United States of America in 1789. The thirteen former colonies had expelled their British colonizer with the crucial help of the French, and began the delicate task of trying to form themselves into a union of member states.…

  • How Social Democratic Parties can find the Electoral ‘Sweet Spot’

    By Steven Hill, Social Europe Journal, June 7, 2011

    The role of political parties in a representative democracy is a complicated subject that has been analyzed for years by legions of scholars who usually have the benefit of hindsight. Yet that body of research is not always helpful to real-time political practitioners, because each election cycle is faced with new circumstances, so looking in the rearview mirror often doesn’t reveal much about what lies ahead.…

  • The World Order in 2050: Global Convergence toward the Middle Class Society

    By Steven Hill, Social Europe Journal, May 17, 2011

    Since World War II, it is plain to see that a high degree of convergence has occurred all over the world around the institutions and practices of political democracy and economy. Country after country has followed the American lead, which offered to the world a development model based on the rise of the middle class. …

  • Make state government more efficient, less expensive

    By Steven Hill, Los Angeles Times, May 11, 2011

    Having four separate agencies controlling finance and taxes, and three separate entities covering education, seems like overkill. And do we really need a lieutenant governor?

    Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed many solutions for California’s political and economic crises. Yet there’s one rock the governor could lift higher to find big savings: the duplication of state offices.…

  • America’s Structural Weaknesses Threaten its Future

    Steven Hill, Social Europe Journal, April 27, 2011

    The U.S. massively wastes money on defence spending, health care, energy/transportation, and income disequilibrium.

    The Battle of the Budget Deficit has become centre stage in the United States and will dominate for many months – most likely into the presidential campaign in 2012.…

  • Was Rahm Right? (about Progressives)

    By Steven Hill,  In These Times, April 6, 2011

    In 2009, then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel infamously said that progressives are “fucking retarded.” Lately I’ve begun to think he was correct–though not for the same reasons as Emanuel, who thought that progressives held unrealistic expectations for his boss, President Barack Obama.…

  • ‘Muddling Through’ Is the New Normal – And I Feel Fine

    By Steven Hill, Social Europe Journal, March 22, 2011

    It’s the end of the world as we know it.
    It’s the end of the world as we know it.
    It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.
    – REM, “It’s the end of the world as we know it“

    Disappointment, as well as renewed pressure from the financial markets on Portugal, Greece, Spain and Ireland, greeted the recent deal on eurozone reform hashed out by European leaders.…

  • Monetary fix for California: Let’s ditch the U.S. dollar

    By Steven Hill, Sacramento Bee, March 13, 2011

    Many solutions have been proposed to the political and economic crises of our Golden State, with Gov. Jerry Brown calling for a June election to deal with the state budget. But the sheer intractability of the challenges leads to an inevitable conclusion: Piecemeal approaches no longer will suffice.…

  • America and Europe: John Locke vs. Saint Augustine

    By Steven Hill, The Globalist, March 7, 2011

    Both the European and American ways are deeply rooted in old traditions — even in different branches of Christianity. These forces continue to shape attitudes across the Atlantic. Nowhere are these ideological differences more instructive than in the conception of property and social responsibility, argues Steven Hill, author of “Europe’s Promise.”…

  • An Open Letter to U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein About Her (lame) Position on the Filibuster

    By Steven Hill, Huffington Post, March 4, 2011

    Dear Senator Feinstein,

    Thank you for your response* to my letter, but I completely disagree with your position. The filibuster is anti-majoritarian, as is the US Senate itself. Senator Feinstein, you and Sen Boxer represent 38 million Californians while the two Senators from Wyoming represent a half a million people.…

  • Economic Powerhouse Germany

    By Steven Hill, International Politik (IP), Berlin, Germany, March/April 2011

    Germany has evolved a social capitalism which has proven to be more stable and efficient than America’s Wall Street capitalism, not to mention more ecologically sustainable. Shrewd governmental policies, smart reactions to crises, and economic democracy are the secret to Germany’s global economic success.…

  • Can Krugmanomics Be Saved?

    By Steven Hill, Social Europe Journal, February 24, 2011

    Paul Krugman recently penned a 6000 word essay for New York Times Magazine provocatively titled “Can Europe Be Saved?” (January 16, 2011) Coming from anyone else than a Nobel Prize winning economist, such a title questioning the survivability of the largest economy in the world, with more Fortune 500 companies than the United States and China combined, would be laughably dismissible.…

  • How to Avoid the Hamas Problem

    By Steven Hill, New York Times, “Room for Debate,” February 17, 2011

    There is great worry in many quarters that elections in Egypt could result in a polarized government, or even an Islamist takeover. But this need not happen if the electoral rules are constructed to encourage broad representation.

    For an example of the wrong way to run an election, consider the Palestinian elections in January 2006.…

  • NRA doesn’t scuttle new laws by lobbying, but by magnifying the clout of single-issue swing voters

    By Steven Hill, New York Daily News, January 30, 2011 (also published in The Guardian)

    For all the outrage over the Tucson massacre, everyone knows that sentiment will not translate into common sense gun control laws. Even President Obama, for most of his career a supporter of restrictions on firearms possession, has failed on two occasions – his Tucson and State of the Union speeches – to mention one of the most obvious reforms, the banning of semiautomatic weapons like Jared Lee Loughner’s Glock and the high-capacity clip he used.…

  • China’s Democratic Baby Steps

    By Steven Hill, Project Syndicate distribution, January 27, 2011 (published by The Guardian, Korea Herald, Japan Times, Toronto Star, Times of India, Burma Digest, Egypt Daily News, Macau Daily Times, Kiev Day and others)

    WASHINGTON, DC – During the state visit to the United States of Chinese President Hu Jintao, President Barack Obama pressed Hu on human rights.…

  • Happy 2011: Europe’s Year of Reining in the Banks

    By Steven Hill, Social Europe Journal, January 18, 2011

    The start of 2011- let’s call it Year Two A.G. (“After Greece” debt crisis) – has brought both good and bad news on the economic front. The bad news is that 2 A.G. is beginning much like 1 A.G. ended, with headlines about government debt and default, this time focused on Portugal and Spain.…

  • My Lunch at the European Commission: ‘Why is Europe Losing the Public Relations Battle to China?’

    By Steven Hill, Social Europe Journal, December 22, 2010

    The European Commission is the most important body that Americans – and far too many Europeans – have never heard of. As the executive branch of the European Union, it is on a peer level with President Barack Obama and his Cabinet, yet the public hardly knows it exists or what it does.…

  • Democracy: Made in China

    By Steven Hill, Truthdig, December 15, 2010

    George W. Bush, it turns out, was not only a challenged president but also a lousy advertisement for the importance of democracy. It’s 2008, the Beijing Olympics have just ended, and I’m sitting across a cafe table from professor Pan Wei, a rising academic and ideological star in China who teaches at Beijing University.…

  • My interview with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou…from the top of the Acropolis

    By Steven Hill, Washington Monthly, December 4, 2010

    My interview with PM Papandreou was preceded by one with his Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Spyros Kouvelis. I was ushered into a pleasant yet not extravagant office, decorated tastefully with various artworks of Greek culture and personal artifacts. The Deputy Minister was joined by some of his staff.…

  • Reconsidering Japan, Reconsidering Paul Krugman

    By Steven Hill, International Politik (Germany), December 2, 2010

    The New York Times is doing a series on Japan that it describes as an examination of “the effects on Japanese society of two decades of economic stagnation and declining prices.” Reading the series is about as cheery a task as rubbernecking at a car wreck on I-95.…

  • Austerity vs. Stimulus: Who’s Right?

    By Steven Hill, Social Europe Journal, November 24, 2010

    To paraphrase Denmark’s Prince Hamlet, ‘To enact austerity or not to enact austerity, that is the question.’ Unfortunately, dear Hamlet, that is a question without a sure answer. The truth is, none of the experts know what is the correct thing to do.…

  • Germany Speaks Out

    By Steven Hill, International Herald Tribune/New York Times, November 12, 2010

    The Group of 20 meeting in Seoul is quickly emerging as a game-changing moment. Not only did President Barack Obama suffer a loss of face, but America’s leadership took a major hit.

    Following America’s catalytic role in bringing the global economy to the brink of disaster, followed by the Obama administration’s weakened political position after the Nov.…

  • United States too uncritical of Israel, says American author

    Interview with Steven Hill, By Mustafa Edib Yilmaz, Today’s Zaman, Istanbul, Turkey, Oct. 31, 2010 A leading American author and political analyst has said the US has been unable and unwilling to push Israel to make the necessary concessions to achieve peace in the Middle East because of historical and electoral reasons.

  • Media ‘Speculators’ Miss History Being Made In Europe

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

    Like financial speculators, the media likes to speculate in hype and sensationalism, dedicated to advancing their goals. Financial speculators do it to make gobs of money, and the media does it to grab eyeballs for their TV shows and newspapers. During the recent Greek debt crisis, both the financial and media speculators acted to put the eurozone in play, and to destabilise entire national economies.…