Original Reporting

Original Reporting | By Mike Alberti | Economy, Employment, Labor
While the economic effects of underemployment — as distinct from unemployment — have long been studied, far less attention has been paid to the psychological consequences. The research that does exist, however, is not encouraging. Psychologists have found that underemployment is associated with increased incidence of depression, less job satisfaction, lower self-esteem, and that it can also result in deep-seated, persistent feelings of shame. Nevertheless, no large-scale government effort to assess the psychological implications of mass underemployment has been undertaken, even though the number of underemployed workers exceeds 10 million. “Unemployment is an emergency,” said Carl Van Horn, professor of public policy at Rutgers University. “Underemployment is a crisis.” More
Original Reporting | By Mike Alberti | Corporate influence, Globalization, Labor
In August, when Boston Consulting Group, one of the world’s leading business consulting firms, released a relatively optimistic report on the future of manufacturing in America, that good news received extensive coverage, including a front-page article in the Financial Times. Implicit in almost all of the coverage was the premise that the report represented a thorough, objective, and neutral assessment of the relevant facts. But according to experts in manufacturing and industrial policy, as well as to experts in corporate social responsibility, a close reading of the report — Made in America, Again: Why Manufacturing Will Return to the U.S. — reveals a different picture: that of a company with its own distinct and one-dimensional ideological framework, promoting a particular set of public policy choices. More
Original Reporting | By Abby Ferla | Environment, History, Quality of life
What do 84.4 million acres of national parks have in common with a B-2 bomber? The annual appropriation for the parks is about the same as that bomber’s life-cycle cost. The result is a National Park Service that is understaffed, under-resourced, and often unable to imagine the park system that would help fulfill America’s best vision of itself. More
Original Reporting | By Margaret Moslander | Education, Health care
Remapping Debate’s examination of the issues of doctors failing to communicate and empathize reveals that, despite innovative efforts at a number of medical schools, the medical community as a whole still has far to go to remedy these problems. Indeed, some of those most closely involved in trying to reshape medical education to bring communication and compassion to the forefront candidly admit that there are currently profound structural barriers in the organization of medical care that limit the effectiveness of the most well-intentioned training interventions. More
Original Reporting | By Mike Alberti | Economy, Role of government
To judge from the absence of mainstream press and political discussion in the United States about the kinds of public policy choices that Denmark has made, the Danish model is about as relevant to the U.S. as an experiment on Mars. But when Remapping Debate recently spoke with several centrist and conservative U.S.-based economists and policy experts, it turned out that many agreed that the Danish experience might offer some valuable lessons for the United States. “One can disagree with the general thrust of a what a country is doing,” said David Mitchell, a senior fellow at the libertarian-oriented Cato Institute, “but we should never let that prevent us from looking to see if any specific policies are working and if they might be adapted.” More
Original Reporting | By Mike Alberti | Alternative models, Politics, Role of government
Last week, 87 percent of Danes went to the polls for parliamentary elections, representing one of the highest voter participation rates in the world. And that public spiritedness is no accident. According to many Danes, much of the explanation can be found in the country’s interconnected network of social institutions, which has evolved over the last several decades to both reflect and reinforce the notion of collective citizenship. “In Denmark, the nation is still thought of as a collectivist project,” Danish historian Ove Korsgaard said. “There is a much stronger sense of coherency and citizenship than in most other countries.” More
Original Reporting | By Mike Alberti | Alternative models, Economy, Employment
The second installment in Remapping Debate’s series on Danish policy choices focuses on low-wage work. Denmark has successfully reduced its reliance on low-wage work in the last several decades, offering an alternate path for other countries. “What the Danish example proves is that there are two distinct ways to organize your labor market,” said John Schmitt, a U.S. labor economist. “There is a low road, and there is a high road.” More
Original Reporting | By Mike Alberti | Alternative models, Economy, Role of government
Public policy choices are both the building blocks and the reflection of the kind of society in which people want to live: “It’s obvious that in Denmark, both the public and business leaders regard the state as a partner,” said Stine Bosse, who until recently served as the group CEO of TrygVesta, Denmark’s largest insurance company. “A strong state is not just something you have to live with…it’s something we reckon is pretty important, a positive thing for business.” The first installment in Remapping Debate's new series on how different Danish choices are from those being made in the U.S. More