The Next Deal: The Future of Public Life in the Information Age

The Next Deal: The Future of Public Life in the Information Age

The Next Deal: The Future of Public Life in the Information Age

The Next Deal: The Future of Public Life in the Information Age

Synopsis

American politics today is run on scandal and sound bites because our politicians have become disconnected from the government and public that they serve. Vast changes brought about by the information revolution and the global economy -- and by the new "Choice Generation" of Americans under the age of thirty -- have yet to impact America's centralized, one-size-fits-all government programs.

Enter Andrei Cherny, who uses his unique vantage point as a twenty something with experience working closely with the President and Vice President of the United States to consider what these vast changes will mean for American government and society. Cherny convincingly argues that Americans are coming to demand a Choice Revolution in government -- expanding democracy by taking decision-making power out of the hands of experts and putting back into the hands of ordinary people.

But more individual power doesn't mean just more individualism. Cherny proposes a truly interactive government in which increased government responsiveness is met with an increased commitment on the part of the public to the common good.

Excerpt

T was the night before Christmas and all through the White House, not a creature was stirring -- except for me. Actually, it was the afternoon before Christmas, but the White House really was practically deserted with the exception of this then 22-year-old speech- writer. Just about everyone who worked there had gone home to spend the day with their loved ones. Not having family in town or much else better to do, I had volunteered to write President Clinton's Saturday radio address for that week. It was a stirring and epic oration on expanded Medicare benefits for colorectal cancer screenings. You might remember it.

The plan had been to tape the speech in the early afternoon for delivery a few days later. I was supposed to be on hand in case Clinton had any questions. (As it would turn out, my only role was holding his dog, Buddy, so that he wouldn't bark during the taping.) But, as was his annual habit, Clinton had gone off to do last-minute Christmas shopping. So I sat alone in my office and waited and waited and waited. Finally, bored beyond belief, I left the building and wandered around downtown Washington. It was just about as empty. The Mall was barren-the malls were where the action was that day. I ended up in a local bookstore and there my eye caught a book that I had read several years earlier: the 1949 classic The Vital Center. Half a century ago, when Arthur Schlesinger wrote The Vital Center, it was an exposition on his age. Tempered by the despondence of the Great Depression, energized by the hope of the New Deal, and finally formed in the crucible of the Second World War, Schlesinger's generation came of age at a moment when the world was consumed by a global ideological struggle. In The . . .

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