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“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.