Research Briefs

 

What Happens When the Kids Go For Startups

“During the past few years, I have noticed that my students are less and less inclined to want to work for any big organization at all, government or not,” writes Steve Kelman. “Courses on ‘social enterprises’ are flourishing, and more students are entering the Harvard Business School startup contests. Some of the startups students have in mind are businesses that would be supported by revenues, while others might be startups trying to deal with some social problem. The nice way to look at this—and I typically try to see the nice side of things, especially where our students are concerned—is that this is just a new way for students to show their social engagement. Having said that, though, there’s no denying that this trend is yet another roadblock government faces in trying to attract smart young people.”

Steve Kelman
What Happens When the Kids Go For Startups
FCW: The Business of Federal Technology

The Iraq War at Ten

“Iraq remains an inherently difficult place. For a multitude of reasons, any effort to remove the Ba’athi regime and establish legitimate institutions in its wake was bound to be complicated and require years to complete,” writes Meghan O’Sullivan. “Knowing that the past decade of U.S. involvement in Iraq could have been easier, even if it would still have been difficult, provides no solace to those who lost family members in Iraq or to Iraqis who endured years of anguish. Nor is it likely to make the United States more eager to embark on such endeavors in the future (nor should it). But it does suggest the importance of learning the right lessons from Iraq, of digging deeper to ensure that false wisdom is not enshrined as sacred truth. As much as we would all like this exercise to be merely an academic one, events in the Middle East today suggest that it could be vital—if not to the United States, then perhaps to those it wishes to help.”

Meghan O’Sullivan
The Iraq War at Ten
The American Interest

Voter Suppression Returns—Voting Rights and Partisan Practices

“Although the United States has long prided itself on being a paragon of democracy, we did not possess anything even approximating universal adult suffrage until the late 1960s—even though universal suffrage is commonly regarded as an essential ingredient of democracy,” writes Alexander Keyssar. “Moreover, our history has not been one of steady and inexorable progress toward a more inclusive polity. In the very long run, to be sure, we have become more democratic, but there have been numerous moments in our past when the pendulum swung in the opposite direction: men and women who were enfranchised found themselves losing that right...In addition to this mottled pattern of enfranchisement and disfranchisement, our nation has also witnessed periodic episodes of ‘voter suppression’— a label frequently invoked by critics to characterize the current wave of photo id requirements.”

Alexander Keyssar
Voter Suppression Returns—Voting Rights and Partisan Practices

Harvard Magazine

Killing Without a Script

“It is completely fair to ask: What were they thinking?” Juliette Kayyem writes of the accused Boston Marathon bombers. “They weren’t. And their very haplessness can be seen as vindicating some aspects of America’s counter-terrorism strategy: For the past decade, U.S. efforts have focused on eliminating the biggest threats—the global masterminds, who aim for mass destruction. What’s been left behind are potential attackers like the Tsarnaevs, with their unscripted zeal. Careless, spontaneous, immature, they are attackers who are most difficult to identify, precisely because of their lack of sophistication. Guarding against them is, paradoxically, even harder than targeting international threats...No society as open as ours can promise perfect security. Thus, it makes sense that a strategy that resigns itself to some form of terrorism in our modern age would, naturally, concentrate on making sure that those who do harm us are stupid, disorganized, rushed, and fickle.”

Juliette Kayyem
Killing Without a Script
The Boston Globe

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