Amitai Etzioni

Amitai Etzioni
George Washington University | GW

Ph D

About

898
Publications
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21,569
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Introduction
If you'd like to keep up with my research and what I'm currently working on, follow me on twitter @ICPS_GWU or email me at icps@gwu.edu.

Publications

Publications (898)
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The good news is that the American people seem to be developing a shared vision and sense of national commitment, one that may help bridge the sharp divisiveness that has bedeviled the nation. The not-so-good news is the nature of rising nationalism: it is carried by a rising wave of hostility toward China. Republicans argued for decades that the D...
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People suspected of war crimes and other human-rights abuses are benefiting from U.S. support, as are politicians who learned that they could get "nice packages" for casting the asked-for votes. by Amitai Etzioni By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies. This use includes personalization of content and ads, and traffic analytics.
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Congress should impose a small COVID-19 equity surcharge on all trades in stocks, bonds and derivatives. The funds raised from this surcharge should be invested in counties in which the COVID death rate is at least twice the national average. Recipient communities would invest the funds in the infrastructure needed to deliver vaccinations; in mater...
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The new administration will have to sidestep yet another Trump landmine.
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Biden uses the term most often to contrast his foreign policy ideals with Trump’s isolationism, by doing it, what it is, with other nations.
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Given that several scores of millions of Americans, including many Trump supporters and others, would view mask requirements as a serious government overreach, the nation will be best served if the new requirement is accompanied by a major public health educational campaign.
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We should not approach China in binary terms, as either friend or foe, but continue to promote human rights and democracy, contain aggression where we encounter it, and compete to help the developing world, rather than seeking to block China while providing little help of our own.
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There is a clear and compelling choice: It is not the great upside of Biden, but the great downside of Trump.
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The fact that the United States is keen to avoid annoying the Myanmar military, in the hope of getting this nation to join the Indo-Pacific anti-China coalition, should not have stopped the United States and its allies from condemning the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas.
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The Family and Medical Leave Act, enacted in 1993, created workplace protections and granted twelve weeks of leave to working families—but without pay. It should guarantee twelve weeks of paid family and sick leave.
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Donald Trump has found a way to capture the headlines and fuel criticism of China, which China inflamed through its mismanagement of the coronavirus and brutal crackdown in Hong Kong. However, it has yet to improve Trump’s reelection chances.
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At best, such a voter will take Biden’s political Christmas promises as a sign that his heart is in the right place, that he has good intentions.
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Joe Biden should prepare for Donald Trump’s outrageous, false claims, and allegations of “fake news” by asking debate moderators to sound a buzzer every time someone lies.
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We are at the wagging the dog stage, as the Trump administration pulls all stops to find some way to divert attention from its mismanagement of the pandemic and economy, which has produced some stinking public opinion polls. China provides an easy target as it is extended its authoritarian regime to Hong Kong, mismanaged the first phase of the figh...
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I lived in Germany from 1929 to 1935, during the years when Hitler took over, so worried colleagues often ask me whether the United States is in a similar, pre-fascist, state. In response, I draw not on my childhood memories of sweeping angst but on my sociological training. Until recently, I scoffed at the idea of the United States being a pre-fas...
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In short, COVID-19 will bedevil us for years to come. We should stop thinking that if we just do this or that or both, we shall be able to “reopen.” Stop thinking about phases 2, 3 and 4, and focus on changes we should make that are inherently beneficial anyhow.
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The president prioritized the economy over his people-and he will pay for that at the polls.
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The Black Lives Matter movement has already engendered a profound and effective moral dialogue. Many White folks admit that, for the first time, they are reconsidering their views about police brutality and the ways that Black communities are-and ought to be-treated.
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We need more nationalism, but not of the kind that involves hating others but of the kind that reminds us that we are members of one community. We need national policies on how to deal with the pandemic and the economic recovery—and national leadership. Daily news reminds us that these do not matter to the fifty states, Washington DC, and the terri...
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All said and done, we better realize that the virus will be with us for years to come and accept that the new normal, living with various safety measures as well as testing and contact tracing, will be with us even once a vaccination is widely available. Keep your mask close and friends—at a distance.
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Many have called on social media companies to act as censors and remove conspiracy theories. However, there is another way. Congress should change the defamation laws to enable public figures, smeared in this way, to sue those who perpetrate such messages.
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The pandemic has made global communitarianism more necessary and more elusive than ever. One would expect, according to theories expounded by social scientists as well as B-movies, that when the people of the world face a major, devastating, external threat, they would unite to ght it. However, the response to the global spread of a very harmful vi...
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Some of the policies championed by the communitarian faction of the Republican party merit particularly critical examination.
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This Article takes for granted that the great amount of campaign contributions donated to individuals who are seeking election or reelection to Congress has reached a level that seriously undermines the democratic system. Many suggestions have been made on ways to limit the contributions donors can give. This Article, taking into account that the U...
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Wearing a face mask during the era of the coronavirus might be the only way to stamp out the spread of the deadly disease.
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The preponderance of the evidence currently available suggests that being outdoors while wearing masks and keeping a distance from one another is significantly safer than being indoors with others.
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Congress should have the capacity to deliberate and to vote via virtual platforms like Zoom and Google Hang Out. The use of these platforms should be limited from the onset to some agreed upon point, say when there are less than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases a day. Such capacity would be needed even if there were no pandemic, to enable the legislative b...
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Biden cannot compete with Trump by being more nationalistic. He also cannot do well if he allows himself to be cast as a globalist. He hence must walk a tightrope of showing that one can be patriotic without being nationalistic.
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The possibility that using age-based rationing to ratchet down care will lead to troubling outcomes is far from mere speculation.
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here is one more area in which strong national leadership is called for to curb the pandemic. The President should call on Congress, and it should act swiftly, to suspend privacy laws for 90 days, for now. There are some indications that even privacy advocates will find such a suspension acceptable if it was a short-term measure and safeguards agai...
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The Taliban will seek to run Afghanistan in line with their values and. America will have to stand back and watch.
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Those people who have recovered from the coronavirus, whose number will grow over the next days and weeks, should get certificates to this effect from their healthcare provider and be free to go to work and otherwise move about, to help beef up the economy.
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The March 2020 edition of The Communitarian Observer newsletter
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The pandemic in the United States has a long way to go. People who are locked up for months may well behave very differently than those at home for two weeks or so.
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Facebook just banned the posting of “deepfake” videos. Congress should require other platforms to follow. “Deepfake” refers to an image, audio recording, or video that has been altered using artificial intelligence (AI), so that while the presentation seems completely authentic, what one sees or hears did not actually happen. For example, in April...
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These very powerful encryptions leave the government in the dark. But perhaps there is a solution that appeases cellphone customers with privacy concerns while ensuring that criminals cannot conceal their conspiracies.
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Washington must find ways to institutionalize the wise lessons that Colin Powell drew from the war in Vietnam. Namely, that the country shall engage in war only if it has clear goals, can use overwhelming force, and command wide public support.
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For the last few decades the Chinese government has relied greatly on the legitimacy of affluence. That is, it has promoted a vision of a society in which every Chinese person can have an affluent way of life, defined in terms of an ever-higher standard of living, based on increased consumption of material goods. Very much in line with studies of a...
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October 2019 Communitarian Observer Newsletter
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Over the past few decades, the United States has increasingly relied on the private sector to carry out missions that were once considered largely the mission of the state. There are now more private cops (security guards and the like) than public police; there have been about the same number of private contractors carrying out the wars in Afghanis...
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The task of keeping nationalism civic, rather than aggressive and authoritarian.
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There may be no way to address the overarching fears all new surveillance technologies raise; however, major concerns can be addressed without slowing the use of facial recognition.
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While millions of people are willing to die for their nation, few are willing to die for the European Union, not to mention for less advanced supranational unions.
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Recent reports on the Green New Deal focus on the need to decarbonize the economy. Reports focus on advancing these goals by various measures that will cause great pain.
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From a sociological and anthropological viewpoint, the ability of complete strangers to carry out transactions that involve significant risk to one or both parties should be complicated by a lack of trust. Yet the rise of e-commerce and “sharing economy” platforms suggests that concerns that seemed prevalent only a few decades ago have been largely...
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Etzioni response to Mr. Benn’s criticism
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The recent case between Apple and the FBI, in which Apple refused to comply with a court order to aid the FBI in overriding the security features of an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists, brought the tension between national security and individual rights to the forefront. This article looks at the case and these two core values fr...
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To absorb millions of immigrants into European societies requires a normative integration. This paper examines the dominant paradigms which characterize integrations, situating assimilation and unbounded pluralism at opposite ends of a continuum. Diversity Within Unity (DWU) is offered as a third approach. It calls for adherence to core values from...
Chapter
Transparency is viewed as a self-evident good in Western society. Etzioni reexamines the theoretical assumptions underlying the thesis that transparency plays a major role in holding democratic governments accountable. His analysis reveals that transparency plays a much smaller role than is often assumed. In addition, Etzioni finds that transparenc...
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(Forthcoming in Challenge) Broadly defined, the gig economy in the United States is large and growing, and many of its workers lack benefits. This article argues that all workers—whether they are working in the gig economy or traditional full-time employment—should receive benefits. It discusses the impact workers without benefits have on the econo...
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Moral dialogs are social processes through which people form new shared moral understandings. They differ from reasoned deliberations because they are focused on values and not on facts, logic or reason. They differ from irrational passions because value statements require moral justifications. Such dialogs take place not just in families and commu...
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There are abundant examples of relatively small lobbying expenditures yielding very high returns. At the same time, lobbying is not very widespread. This article considers lobbying as a form of rent seeking and addresses the question raised previously by economists as to why more rent seeking does not occur, given the very high payoffs that it may...
Book
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This book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 license. This timely book addresses the conflict between globalism and nationalism. It provides a liberal communitarian response to the rise of populism occurring in many democracies. The book highlights the role of communities next to that of the state and the market. It spells out the policy implication...
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As Artificial Intelligence technology seems poised for a major take-off and changing societal dynamics are creating a high demand for caregivers for elders, children and those infirmed-robotic caregivers, may well be used much more often. This article examines the ethical concerns raised by the use of AI caregivers and concludes that many of these...
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This article reviews the reasons scholars hold that driverless cars and many other AI equipped machines must be able to make ethical decisions, and the difficulties this approach faces. It then shows that cars have no moral agency, and that the term ‘autonomous’, commonly applied to these machines, is misleading, and leads to invalid conclusions ab...
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Maslow assumes that people are not merely economic creators who seek to maximize their happiness. He holds that once people’s basic needs are satisfied, they will find contentment in seeking to address “higher” needs—famously esteem and self-actualization. However, Maslow’s theory is self-centered. To view people as moral creatures, social sciences...
Book
Amitai Etzioni argues that societies must find a way to balance individual rights and the common good. This point of balance may change as new technologies develop, the natural and international environments change, and new social forces arise. Some believe the United States may be unduly short-changing individual rights that need to be better prot...
Book
Are the United States and China on a collision course? In response to remarks made by Donald Trump's secretary of state, China's state-run newspaper Global Times asserted, "Unless Washington plans to wage a large-scale war in the South China Sea, any other approaches to prevent Chinese access to the [disputed] islands will be foolish." Some experts...
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Populism is rising in the United States, and this has ramifications for its democratic institutions. The rise is attributable in part to the alienation many Americans feel in their own country, which in turn stems from a combination of various sociological challenges. This article uses a liberal communitarian approach to examine these issues, and c...

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