What is meant by the term “positive government”?





1. In the introduction, Lehne suggests that a new “social compact” between business and society/government should be forged. What does he mean by that remark? What was the previous compact and, what changes does Lehne suggest will put the United States in a better position to solve problems? Discuss the social compact for another country. Which would you argue is likely to yield a more favorable outcome, the current US example or, that of the other nation? Discuss what you would regard as an appropriate social compact for the America of the 21st century. On what basis did you devise that construct? Explain, considering what you know about the prevailing social and constitutional landscapes.


2. In Chapter 2 of the Lehne text there is discussion provided of both roles of government (framework, promotional, regulatory and social service) and models of business/government relationship (business dominance, market, stakeholder, pluralism). Select the governmental role-type and model that you feel has been applied to solve a problem in the 21st century. Discuss the problem, the policy that was enacted to solve it and, how it reflected a government role and relationship model. Would you have selected that policy? Why? Why not?


3. Corporations enjoyed considerable popularity when they first began to appear in the 19th century. To what would you attribute their popularity? What developments contributed to their decline in popularity? What is their status today, in your opinion? Explain. Considering the reasons stated for their unpopularity, what would you suggest government do to effect positive change?


4. What is meant by the term “positive government”? When did positive government emerge in the United States? What brought it about? Would you characterize the government of the United States as positive in the first decade of the 21st century? Explain. Has it been more or less positive in the second decade? Explain. What role has the Constitution and distribution of political power had to do with the conditions of the first and second decades of the 21st century, respectively?


5. Who was John Maynard Keynes? How does his approach to macroeconomic management depart from the previous status quo? How was American society transformed to make the Keynesian approach more salient than its predecessor? How was the Keynesian approach manifest in macroeconomic policymaking? If you were advising the government of the United States would you suggest more or, less, Keynesianism? Explain. Is the US government likely to become more or, less Keynesian in the coming 12 months? Explain.


6. Select any public policy problem that exists in the United States today. Is the optimal problem solving mechanism for that issue political or economic, in your opinion? Explain. Has the actual means used to address it been more political or economic? Explain. How do you account for any convergence or divergence? Which approach would you argue is more supported constitutionally? Explain.


7. Select a public policy issue affecting Californians today. The issue can be state, county or municipal. Provide detail on the nature of the problem. Discuss how that problem is being addressed. Is there a greater reliance on the public or private sector? Do you agree with that reliance? Explain. Is that approach supported by the US Constitution, in your view? Is that approach supported by American values? If the constitutional and ethical support is equivalent, explain why? If there is a difference, explain.


8. Identify a chief executive of government in this country at any level, federal, state or local. Does that individual’s policy positions lead more in the direction of a public or private sector emphasis? Support your view citing that person’s position on a public policy issue and a policy alternative that would reflect the opposite view. Which position do you support? Explain, providing a constitutional justification in addition to any moral/ethical views.

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