ABSTRACT

This piece, written in the wake of the 1984 presidential elections, incorporates a major issue facing the United States (and the other advanced nations of the West), the importance of which I have become increasingly confident about with the passage of time. After roughly a century in which democratic politics has consisted of a more or less civilized zero-sum struggle over the division of an expanding economic pie, our societies will have to achieve a high degree of inner cooperation if the pie is to continue to expand. The necessary political transition has begun at the state and local levels where the future shape of national politics is often foreshadowed in the United States. Evidently, the transition is not yet far advanced in Washington although one can hope, at least, that the economic crisis that began in October 1987 may move national politics in a salutary communal direction.