Current Issues in U.S. Governance |

Current Issues in U.S. Governance


The U.S. system of governance has been described recently as “dysfunctional,” “hyper-polarized,” “unworkable,” and “even worse than it looks.” Hyperbole aside, there is no doubt that Congress continues to set records in partisanship and polarization, not to mention new lows in public approval and legislative productivity.

Yet, as New York University professor Paul C. Light argues, the current state of U.S. governance may not be either as bad as it looks, or as nonproductive. This is not the only time in history that the U.S. constitutional system has produced gridlocked, and the founders might be quite comfortable with the current gridlock—after all, they designed the U.S. government not to work in the absence of national consensus, and by this design, the U.S. government is working very well indeed.

However, Professor Light will also argue that the underlying polarization is troubling for the U.S. and the world, particularly as persistent problems such as global climate change, hunger, and economic risk approach tipping points in potential damage. Much as the U.S. founders might applaud the current stalemate, they might also worry that the gridlock now threatens a fragile world. Light will examine several compelling explanations for the situation, and offer his own view of potential reforms.


Prof Paul C. Light, Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service, Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, New York University

Wednesday, 13 August 2014
5:15 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Seminar Room 3-1,
Manasseh Meyer,
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy,
469C Bukit Timah Road,
Singapore 259772

Seats are limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Kindly register your interest in attending online.

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