Paul Starr

Paul Starr is co-founder and co-editor of the The American Prospect. and professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University. A winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and the Bancroft Prize in American history, he is the author of seven books, including most recently Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Heath Care Reform (Yale University Press, revised ed. 2013). Click here to read more about Starr.

Recent Articles

Richard Leone, Capable Liberal

Remembering the public servant and liberal intellectual

The Century Foundation
L iberal intellectuals with managerial and political acumen are all too rare. Richard Leone, who passed away last week, was one of those people with an unusual combination of intellectual seriousness and practical skill, which he used to great advantage in both public service and public debate. Leone played a role on both the state and national stages. In his early 30s, as state treasurer of New Jersey, he was instrumental in bringing honest, progressive government to a state long known for its corrupt tendencies. Later, as chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, he did the same for an agency that the current governor of New Jersey has flagrantly abused. And for more than two decades, Leone served as president of the Century Foundation and focused its efforts on the critical issues of our time. Always more than a neutral manager, he made the case for liberal policy in well-turned op-eds and other articles. Leone might have played a bigger role nationally. In 1978,...

What We Know Now

Twenty-five years later, the world has changed in crucial ways that factor into our thinking.

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Victor Juhasz This article appears in the Spring 2015 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . Celebrate our 25th Anniversary with us by clicking here for a free download of this special issue . I n 1990, when the two of us started this magazine with Robert Reich, we saw a need and an opportunity. The Democrats had lost three presidential elections in a row, national policy had moved sharply to the right, and liberalism was in dire need of new ideas about the direction of the country. Some of the publications that we once looked to (and wrote for) had grown ambivalent about liberal politics or uninterested in engaging practical choices and no longer provided intellectual leadership. But the Reagan era was waning, and a new generation of writers and intellectuals was ready to pick up the challenge to think through alternatives. We saw the Prospect as bridging the usual divides between journalism and the academic world, and between policy and politics—and as a way to...

The Crash of The New Republic

The mass exodus from the storied magazine was not the result of disagreements about the value of new technology.

(Sipa via AP Images)
(Sipa via AP Images) Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, bought The New Republic in 2012. This article appears in the Winter 2015 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . T he tension between money and left-of-center politics has its correlate in the world of the media. Like liberal political candidates, liberal political magazines depend on wealthy donors in what is often an uneasy relationship. That tension was evident in the implosion of The New Republic in early December, when nearly all the magazine’s well-known editors and writers quit after its owner, Facebook millionaire Chris Hughes, replaced the top leadership and announced he was turning the magazine into a “digital media company.” Ever since its founding 100 years ago, The New Republic has occupied a singular place in liberal politics and intellectual life. A complete history of American liberalism would need an entire chapter on The New Republic —and a second chapter on unhappiness about The New...

Red State, Blue State: Polarization and the American Situation

The country is stuck but it is not stationary. Some things are changing—just not at the federal level.

(Map: Angr/Wikimedia Commons; Flag: AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip) A racing fan waves an American flag as they wait for the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Sunday, November 2, 2014, in Austin, Texas. This article appears under the title "The American Situation" in the Fall 2014 issue of The American Prospect magazine. A merica, it seems, is stuck—unable to make significant progress on critical issues such as climate change, rising economic inequality, and immigration. To explain that inaction, people often point to political polarization. Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, are now so sharply opposed to each other that they are unable to find common ground. But while the country is stuck, it is not stationary. Some things are changing; it’s just not at the federal level that the changes are emerging. Polarization leads to stalemate only under certain circumstances—when the two sides in a conflict are closely balanced, and political institutions and procedures (such...

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