Paul Starr

Paul Starr is co-editor of the The American Prospect. His most recent book is Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Health Care ReformClick here to read more about Starr.

Recent Articles

Seductions of Sim: Policy as a Simulation Game

For those who always thought public policy was a game anyone could play, it finally is. But beware of what the game assumes.

Standing around the computer, my two older daughters, nine and eleven years old, scan the picture of the city we're creating and debate whether it needs more commercial or residential development. My six-year-old son suggests we look at the city budget. In just a few weeks he has learned enough to ask the critical question: "What's the cash flow?"

Restoration Fever

Most of us like to think that our views
represent the innermost beliefs of the majority of our fellow citizens. Recent
polls may show a ridiculous preference for a position we despise, our candidates
may lose at election time, and the radio may broadcast music or talk that we
abhor. But we know that all this is ephemeral: Deep in their hearts, the
majority agree with us about what is right and good. And if they don't say so or
act accordingly just now, the trend is moving in our direction. Let those who
think differently tremble at the verdict of an awakened nation.

The Perils of High-Mindedness

Even before this campaign, he was a familiar figure in our public life—the high-minded politician, detached from partisan passions, divorced from interest groups, devoted to higher purposes for the good of all, disdainful of image-making, fundraising, and negative campaigns. To varying degrees, Adlai Stevenson, John Anderson, and Paul Tsongas played the part; now it is Bill Bradley's turn, and we will see whether he plays it to the same conclusion—political defeat.

How Low Can You Go?


According to The Economist, PaineWebber has created an
index of "happiness" for bonds that goes up when unemployment

If others would only follow this example and strike a blow against
hypocrisy, we could have a series of more accurate social indicators:
an index of happiness for hospitals that jumps when epidemics
hit; one for journalists that goes up when scandals break out;
another for lawyers and accountants that climbs whenever a company
goes bankrupt.