HKS Authors

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Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, Emeritus


Recently, many observers argued that America’s gridlocked political system would prevent the country from translating its abundant power resources into leadership. As one perceptive journalist recently argued, “America still has the means to address nearly any of its structural weaknesses … energy use, medical costs, the right educational and occupational mix to rebuild a robust middle class. That is the American tragedy of the early 21st century: a vital and self-renewing culture that attracts the world’s talent and a governing system that increasingly looks like a joke.” Power conversion – translating power resources into effective influence – is a long-standing problem for the US. The Constitution is based on an 18th-century liberal view that power is best controlled by fragmentation and countervailing checks and balances.


Nye, Jr., Joseph S. "American Politics is in Crisis, But It is Certainly Not Broken." Daily Star (Lebanon), April 14, 2010.