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July 25, 2007

civic engagement in Britain

Centralized executive power is dangerous--but it provides great opportunities when the chief executive happens to have good ideas. The new British Prime Minister has committed to civic engagement. Since he has the votes to control Parliament, he should be able to implement his concrete policy proposals, which include (according to The Guardian):

  • grants for a new national youth community service program
  • endowments for new local foundations
  • grants for training and education in community work
  • a plan to let nonprofits take over unused public buildings
  • a social investment lending pool capitalized with funds held by private banks
  • Britain already has in place a well-regarded, ambitious civic education curriculum for all of its students.

    Gordon Brown's rhetoric sounds maybe a little too communitarian to match my personal ideals. I would emphasize public work, deliberation, decentralization, and problem-solving rather than giving and belonging. But it's an impressive set of concrete policy proposals, the likes of which would be hard to accomplish here (save for the youth service corps, which we got under Bill Clinton).

    July 25, 2007 9:55 AM | category: none


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