Spurred in part by a Congressional Act which allowed universities to patent the results of federally-funded research, corporate contributions to academic research programs grew from $850 million in 1985 to over $4 billion by the early 1990s. In return corporations receive licenses to the patents generated by that research. Do these new academic-corporate relationships threaten the traditional functions of our universities to educate and to serve the public good? Or does corporate funding serve the public good by bringing the fruits of research to the public sooner and more efficiently?
Does outsourcing—whether it means the transfer of customer service and high-tech jobs to India or of manufacturing jobs to China—benefit the American economy or harm it? And if American workers are being harmed by outsourcing, what should be done about it? Do we need legislation to prevent corporations from sending jobs overseas? Or should we focus our attention on creating new opportunities for the American labor force through education and job training?
Will computers revolutionize education or not? President Clinton called for connecting every classroom in America to the Internet. School districts across the country are spending billions of dollars on computers for the classroom. Will all of this effort pay off or is it misguided? Just how should computers be used in the classroom? Is it possible that computers can actually harm the educational process?
Why did socialism fail to become a major force in American society? Every major first world country has been governed by a socialist or social democratic party at some point in the past century...except the United States. Does socialism’s failure in the United States stem from strategic mistakes made by socialist leaders? Or has socialism always been fundamentally incompatible with American culture?
It's been nearly a decade since Boris Yeltsin brought seventy years of Soviet rule to an end in 1991. Unfortunately, an era that began with high hopes for the new Russia has become a nightmare for the Russian people. One indicator of the troubles in Russia: life expectancy is now lower than during the Soviet era. What went wrong in Russia under Yeltsin? What does the future hold now that Russia has a new leader? Finally, what direction should U.S. relations with Russia take in the next decade?
Is America on the wrong side of the death penalty debate? The worldwide wide trend is against the death penalty: more than half the countries in the world have abolished it, including more than 30 nations since 1990. So why do we have a death penalty in America? Is it to deter people from committing murder? If so, does it work? Or is the death penalty fundamentally a matter of justice, of punishing appropriately those guilty of the worst crimes?
In 2003, the secretary general of the United Nations appointed a 16-member commission to assess the threats to worldwide security in the twenty-first century. The commission came back with a number of recommendations for reforming the UN itself. Is this institution so important that it must be preserved and reformed? Or, given its lack of response to the crisis in Iraq, the ongoing nuclear crises in North Korea and Iran, and the humanitarian crisis in the Sudan, is the UN beyond reform? Perhaps it has outlasted its usefulness. Peter Robinson speaks with Victor Davis Hanson and Jane Wales.
The war on terrorism has created unique ideological challenges for both ends of the American political spectrum. Does the left, long opposed to the exercise of U.S. military power, risk irrelevance by opposing the war on terror? How does the libertarian wing of the right, long opposed to big government, respond to its expanding role in protecting our security? How has President Bush's conduct of the war on terrorism affected his chances for reelection in 2004?
Did the framers of the United States Constitution intend that the Supreme Court be the sole and final interpreter of the Constitution, with the power to place binding decisions on the executive and legislative branches? Or did they intend that the Supreme Court have the final say only on the legal cases that came before it, thus permitting the executive and legislative branches to have wide latitude in interpreting the Constitution for themselves? The former view, that of judicial supremacy, is the dominant view of the Supreme Court today, accepted, for the most part, both within government and in society more generally. Is this view supported by the Constitution? If not, why and when did it arise? Should we support judicial supremacy, or is it time to rein in the Supreme Court?
The breadth and depth of Hoover Institution scholarship is reflected in the many events put on by the Hoover Institution on a broad variety of topics and issues.
According to recent polls, instructors at American universities are overwhelmingly liberal: 72 percent of faculty members describe themselves as liberal, whereas only 15 percent call themselves conservative. Some critics charge that this ideological imbalance has created a code of political correctness that inhibits freedom of inquiry and expression in our universities. Is this true? And if so, what should be done, or can be done, about it? Peter Robinson speaks with David Horowitz and Graham Larkin.
In January 2004, President George W. Bush announced a plan for a manned mission to Mars in the first half of the twenty-first century. Is NASA up to the task? Given the recent failures of NASA's manned space program, from Space Shuttle disasters to the overbudget and barely functional International Space Station, should NASA even be running a manned space program? If so, what can be done to revitalize NASA and restore both its sense of purpose and the public's excitement for space exploration that has been missing for twenty years? Peter Robinson speaks with Sean O'Keefe.
The past decade has seen the emergence of an increasingly vocal animal rights movement in this country. Although many of the specific goals of the movement have to do with promoting the humane treatment of animals, the underlying argument is that certain basic legal rights should be extended to animals as well. Should we recognize that animals have legal rights, or should we continue to regard animals as property, as resources to use as humans see fit? Just what rights, if any, should animals have? And how could these rights alter the relationship between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom?
In 1978, the Polish cardinal Karol Wojtyla was elected to the papacy of the Catholic Church, taking the name John Paul II. In the twenty-four years since, Pope John Paul II has traveled more widely and held audiences for more people than any other pope in history. But beyond his long service and high profile, how will John Paul II be remembered? Will he be remembered more for his political impact—many say that he played a crucial role in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe—or for his ecclesiastical work? Just how well has John Paul II prepared the Catholic Church for the twenty-first century?
We look back at America during the last two decades of the twentieth century. Each decade was dominated by a two-term President and marked by long economic booms. Do these parallels suggest that 1990s were merely a continuation of the 1980s? Or does each decade have a unique place in American history?
It's been more than 25 years since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. For most of that time, the number of executions in this country climbed steadily higher. In the past several years, however, the death penalty has come under increasing criticism. Executions have fallen nationwide from a high of 98 in 1998 to 66 in 2001. Two states, Illinois and Maryland, declared moratoria on the death penalty over concerns that the death penalty could not be administered fairly. Is the death penalty immoral in and of itself? If not, is it unconstitutional? What is required to ensure that the death penalty is administered with fairness, justice, and accuracy?
Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, Congress passed and President Bush signed the USA Patriot Act—legislation intended to thwart the threat of domestic terrorism. Critics were quick to denounce USA Patriot as a dangerous expansion of government power at the expense of our civil liberties. Are the critics right? Or can we win the war on terrorism without sacrificing our civil liberties here at home? And what has the American experience in earlier crises, such as the Civil War and the two world wars, taught us about balancing national security and personal freedom?
Hoover fellow Peter Berkowitz on the perversion of international law. By Jennifer Rubin.
It has been more than fifteen years since the People's Liberation Army crushed the prodemocracy rallies in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, killing hundreds of students and workers and wounding thousands more. Since then, although stifling political dissent, China has continued to liberalize its economy and is rapidly becoming an economic superpower. Will the explosion of new wealth in China lead to new pressures for democratic reform? And just what is the legacy of Tiananmen? Peter Robinson speaks with William McGurn and Orville Schell.
Over the last quarter century, Latin America appears to have made remarkable political and economic progress—an undeniable shift towards democratic government and free market economics. Yet during the last five years, several Latin American countries have experienced one political and economic crisis after another. Why? Have democratic and free market reforms failed Latin America? Or are enduring problems of governmental structure still to blame? Peter Robinson speaks with Stephen Haber and Alvaro Vargas Llosa.