How concerning is US political gridlock?
Agenda, World Economic Forum
Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor and former Dean of the Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Joseph Nye, highlights the growing ideological gap between US elected representatives who are becoming more partisan in their decision and policy-making, and ordinary citizens who want policy decisions based less on partisanship.
This is correlated with a significant decline in citizen trust and public confidence in government in recent years, but the author argues the situation should not be seen as dire.
He argues US Congress continues to pass major legislation. He further argues that the US government was designed to be inefficient in order to ensure that it could not easily threaten the liberty of its citizens.
More than 80% of Americans still think the US is the best place to live and 90% like their system of government, he says. He argues that the loss of confidence in government is being mirrored in the loss of public confidence in many large-scale institutions, which itself may be a function of growing individualism in contemporary society.
Thumbnail image: Joseph Nye. By Chatham House/Flickr.