Editor's Note

Editor's Note

Michael Tomasky introduces Issue #36

By Michael Tomasky

Net neutrality is much in the news. But net neutrality is—or should be—just one part of a much larger conversation about communications and information technology. We know that whatever the state of play a year from now, the technology we have come to rely so much upon will already be different, and more different still a year after that.

But policy isn’t keeping up. In these areas, we’re still largely guided by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The time for a big rethink is well overdue. And so, starting in this issue and continuing into 2016, we’re excited to partner with the Advanced Communications Law and Policy Institute at New York Law School in presenting a series of essays on the various challenges and opportunities ahead. We open with two essays, one by Democracy co-founder Andrei Cherny and the other by Robert Atkinson and Doug Brake, that describe the stakes; we’ll dig deeper into specific problems and recommendations in future issues.

The feature well includes essays by Bard College President Leon Botstein on higher education and civic life; Heather K. Gerken and James T. Dawson on how the “spillover” effects of state and local laws promote democracy and debate; F. Gregory Gause, III on how to make sense of the political maneuverings of the Gulf petro-states; Richard Vague on the potential crisis that looms in the form of China’s huge private debt; and Michael O’Hare on what a better job our major art museums could be doing in how they present art to us. (Hint: They could all be free—yes, free.)

In the books section, we offer review essays by former Syria ambassador Robert Ford on ISIS; Simon Lazarus on the current legal challenge to Obamacare; and Diane E. Meier on Atul Gawande. Finally, this issue’s response essay is by Zephyr Teachout, who reacts to the review of her book by Lee Drutman in the last issue.

Michael Tomasky is the editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas.

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