“You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty.” – Jessica Mitford
The following TSr (The Small “r”) Institute papers are available on TSr Institute’s Google Drive. Simply look for the paper by title in the TSr Institute’s Google Drive folder.
Studying the American Republic: A reading list of original source materials that influenced America’s founders, writings directly from America’s founders, along with newer works that expound on contemporary political and economic conditions. If you’re weary of trying to gain a sense of the American Republic through secondary sources/ideologies and want to pursue an eye-opening intellectual experience, here’s a map laying out the trailhead.
The Dignity of Humanity: Above all else, America’s founders sought to establish the dignity of the individual, with political and economic institutions benefiting the individual, not the converse. Contemporary arguments seek to undermine this ideal of human dignity with the use of ad hominem attacks that discredit the founders and, by association, their ideals. Yet, the dignity of humanity resided at the very core of the American Republic, regardless of the founders’ personal lives. This paper reviews the history of Western thought that led to a negative outlook on the human condition, why it triumphed over the positive outlooks, and how this negativity influenced our society, government and economy along the way. This devolution led to hyperindividualism, paradoxically denying individualism and human dignity.
The American Republic and Its Relevancy in the 21st Century: Far too often we hear contemporary political voices invoking America’s founders and the Founding Era to support their ideologies. An investigation into the original source material of the founders, along with the political philosophers who influenced them, reveals a different vision for America. This paper serves as a brief introduction to small-r republicanism, the original framework for America’s governance, including equality, liberty, sovereignty, civic engagement, decentralization and more. This paper also considers why America devolved from a democratic republic to a mere democracy, and how a republic’s political framework continues to hold potential for addressing many of the social, political and economic issues of our modern, complex society.
Does Centralized Government Work?: This paper is a considered response to the growth of our Federal government, arguing that there is no deterministic reason for large, centralized government in a modern complex society and that, in fact, decentralized government could work better than a massive, unresponsive centralized bureaucracy mired in corruption and agency capture. However, political elements must move beyond simplistic calls for “smaller government.” American citizens taking responsibility for their communities is the starting point.
The Chasm Between the Economy and Finance: This white paper discusses how the disconnect between Wall Street and the U.S. economy emerged, and investigates the precipitous increase in wealth amassing in corporations, hedge funds, and more. As this wealth has increased, finance’s economic -and- political power has grown precipitously over the past three decades, influencing national, state and local governance, as well as the day-to-day functioning of the U.S. economy. The paper ends with a call for returning to substantive finance, one that invests in American business, rather than Wall Street’s current mode of operation, using money to chase money, with little in the way of substantive economic investment.
The Vanishing Middle: Stagnant incomes and rising debt loads eradicated American middle-income wealth over the past 30 years. Here’s why, and a way forward.
A Roadmap to Follow: Japan’s economic woes have reached a 20th anniversary. There are deep lessons to be learned here by Americans, particularly government leaders and policymakers.
The Aristocracy of Monied Corporations: This paper examines a) why our justice system, using the 14th Amendment, recognizes the personhood of corporations, b) the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, and c) how corporate personhood was established in an 1886 Supreme Court case: not by a decision but by, of all means, a mere footnote.
Urban Redevelopment for Agriculture: A look at urban redevelopment for agriculture usage, and the barriers facing the establishment of underutilized urban areas for farming.
Synthetic Inflation: Why food and energy prices, during an economic downturn, increased, threatening American (and worldwide) household budgets and delaying the economic recovery.
Obesity – A Liberty or License: Obesity is becoming an epidemic in America. So should First Lady Michelle Obama pursue a campaign against obesity? Or is this, as Sarah Palin contends, another example of “big brother” hovering over us? The implications for and alternatives to our healthcare system are discussed.
Legalizing Heroin?: The discussion of the legalization of drugs started with marijuana, and is now climbing into heroin’s back seat. Are we crossing a bridge too far?
Clean Hydrogen, Dirty Secrets: Hydrogen-burning internal-combustion engines promise a cleaner environment, frees us from foreign energy dependence, and is a potentially cheap and plentiful source of energy as the hydrogen technologies develop. So why has the United States thrown hydrogen overboard?
A Program of Reformation for Our Federal Government: Few would disagree with the contention that we have a seriously dysfunctional Federal government. Here are the next steps to reform it… all on one page.
Reinserting Citizens Into US Healthcare: The problem with U.S. healthcare isn’t public policy, it’s the absence of the patient in the decision-making process. Here’s a look at how to change this reality.
Intelligent Evolution: Judeo-Christian scriptures supports Evolution, not Creationism. In fact, Creationism challenges the omnipotence of God. Of course, if you’re an atheist, all of this is moot. But if you’re looking for a rebuttal to Creationism that is based on a source Christians must respect, here’s your argument.
The State as Spiritual Savior?: Individuals are responsible for their private morals, not the state. This essay argues that the state-as-savior framework stems from Mosaic Law, not the Sermon on the Mount, which is Christian Law. The Christian church should not expect the state to play the role of personal savior, or to serve as a remedy for its own institutional failures.
We Bailed Out Wall Street, Again: By paying more for food and energy than economic conditions warrant, American (and global) households have fattened the war chests of Wall Street banks, just in time for the next downturn. Profits from overpriced equities have helped, too.
The Indirect and Remote Considerations of Policy Analysis: Using the Well Formed Argument: Special-interests and lobbyists short circuit the public-policy process. So how does an analyst interface with a process that includes such powerful actors? This paper argues one solution: Talk with the targeted constituency and gain a vastly richer picture of legislative needs. At best, the responses will help propel a powerful argument that informs and enfeebles counterattacks. At the very least, the analyst will learn something about the issues for which he/she is helping write legislation. This paper includes an application to a previously published economic analysis.