Public Lecture : Lost or anew? American progressive-liberalism and European social democracy

04/07/2012

The American political traditions of progressivism and liberalism have long provided European social democracy with a rich vein of ideas and inspiration: the nation’s founding ideals, the civil rights era and the traditions of democratic accountability, civic duty and Republican liberty can all be mentioned in this regard.
 
But today the US political system is in a state of paralysis and progressive politics has been crippled by an unprecedented loss of faith in government action. Meanwhile in Europe, having fulfilled their historic mission to build the welfare state, centre-left parties struggle to articulate a distinctive vision beyond the status quo, with widespread dissatisfaction feeding into dangerous populist sentiments.
 
What are the prospects for social democracy and progressive politics on both sides of the Atlantic? Can they recover the ideological and intellectual vitality which underpinned their strength in the post-war political landscape?
 
The Foundation of European Progressive Studies and Policy Network presented a unique public panel on the future of liberal democracy entitiled “Lost or anew? American progressive-liberalism and European social democracy” on Wednesday, 4 July at London School of Economics. This unique public panel brought together 3 of the foremost academics and political thinkers from Harvard University for a compelling comparison of how new doctrines, new concepts and new interpretations might shape the next stages of centre‐left political thought and whether they afford the possibility of a paradigm shift beyond neoliberalism.

Introduction
Roger Liddle, chair of Policy Network and a Labour member of the House of Lords.  

Politics and paradigms
Peter A. Hall, Krupp Foundation Professor of European Studies, Department of Government, Harvard University
 
Political participation and trust in government
Pippa Norris, McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and Professor of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney.
 
Economics: Is the west heading for a lost decade?
Jeffry Frieden, professor of government at Harvard University
 
Chair: Ernst Stetter, Secretary General of FEPS 
 

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