Democracy and Capitalism

Some simple conceptions for the purposes of this course: Democracy:   a way of organizing a political system based on political equality. Each person’s vote counts for one; no one’s voice counts for more than one. Virtually all democracies guarantee certain civil and political rights to help ensure that everyone has a voice: rights such as […]

A Rubric for Understanding Public Policy

Many (not all) public policy issues in advanced, industrialized capitalist democracies can be examined and discussed in this framework: We (the people) place primary reliance on private arrangements. Private arrangements include families, churches, voluntary associations, the market, etc. Governments are asked to intervene only when necessary. ‘When necessary’ is ideological terrain. *** Interventions generally fall […]

Line-cutters and the American Dream

September 9, 2016 In the United States, we have many government programs that transfer income from some people to others.  Social Security is such a transfer payment program.  So are Medicare and Medicaid.  So is TANF: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, what we often call welfare.  Ditto SNAP, what we used to call Food Stamps. […]


Welcome to Promoting the General Welfare, a fall semester 2016 course at Midcoast Senior College taught by Doug Bennett. This site is primarily for the use of those taking the course, but others are welcome to visit. There are pages on this site (see the tabs across the top) for the syllabus, for course expectations, for […]