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Robert de Neufville

Contributor, Big Think

I lecture and write about politics and philosophy. I hold degrees in politics from Harvard and Berkeley, and have studied complex systems at the Santa Fe Institute. Other interests include theoretical physics, cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and the game of Go. You can find me on Twitter at @rdeneufville.

America’s Disappearing Workforce

Where did America’s workers go? The future of the American economy may hinge on the answer. The US economy added 165,000 new jobs in April and the unemployment rate fell […]

When Can the President Target Americans?

Imagine that the president of the United States could legally order the preemptive killing of any American citizen he deemed a potential threat to the country. A Justice Department white […]

The Debt Ceiling Explained

Congress created the debt ceiling crisis almost entirely on its own. Article I of the Constitution gives Congress what’s known as the “the power of the purse”: Congress alone can […]

America the Purple

Looking at the electoral college map, it’s easy to imagine that the U.S. is a sharply divided country. The northeastern and western coastal states are all blue, while a broad […]

Turn Off the Election Coverage

Sometimes what political science tells us is that we should pay less attention to politics. It’s easy to get caught up in the horse race aspect of the presidential election, […]

How America’s Wealth Vanished

Americans aren’t worth as much as they used to be. Last week, the Federal Reserve survey of consumer finances found that the net worth of U.S. households declined 15% on […]

Can Obama Order You Killed?

On September 30, 2011, The New York Times reported that the C.I.A. had killed a fundamentalist iman named Anwar al-Awlaki in a drone strike over Yemen. Heralding the strike, President […]

Americans Are Driving Less

Americans don’t drive as much as they used to. The Department of Transportation estimates that Americans drove 2.9 trillion miles in the year from April 2011 to March 2012. That’s […]

Is Congress Becoming Less Literate?

Congress is apparently now speaking at a 10th grade level. The Sunlight Foundation recentlyanalyzed the Congressional Record and found that the average member of Congress speaks at 10.6 grade reading level on the […]

The Political Attack on Political Science

Last week the House voted 218-208 to block the National Science Foundation from funding political science research. No other type of research would be blocked by the NSF budget amendment. […]

Obama Comes Out for Same-Sex Marriage

On Wednesday, President Obama became the first sitting president to support marriage equality for gays and lesbians. The president’s support does nothing to alter the moral case for marriage equality. […]

How Romney Got the Bailout Wrong

In an interview in Ohio on Monday, Mitt Romney said he would “take a lot of credit” for the fact that the U.S. auto industry has rebounded. That’s a remarkable […]

The Torture Lie Refuted

Torture doesn’t work. There has never been much reason to believe that it does. Now Reuters reports that a three-year investigation by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence committee confirms what […]

Why the Experts Get Everything Wrong

Being an expert means never having to say you’re sorry. If it turns out you’re wrong about something—about, say, whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or whether there was […]

Election Notes: Can Romney Beat Obama?

When Rick Santorum dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination, it removed the last real obstacle standing between Mitt Romney and the nomination. The race has really been […]

Obamacare Isn’t Radical

Earlier this week I argued that the Affordable Care Act should be ruled constitutional. There are genuine reasons to be concerned about the scope of Congress’ commerce power, which has […]

Words With Candidates

How would you describe the Republican candidates? A Washington Post/Pew Research poll conducted two weeks ago asked respondents what one word came to mind when they heard the name of […]

Election Notes: The Beginning of the End

After Mitt Romney’s 12-point win in Illinois, it’s difficult to see how anyone else could win the Republican nomination. His lead in the delegate count over Rick Santorum has expanded […]

Election Notes: Santorum Sweeps the South

Rick Santorum had a great day on Tuesday, winning the Republican primaries in both Alabama and Mississippi—a state in which no poll had shown Santorum in the lead. Newt Gingrich, […]

The Most Popular Politeia Posts of 2011

After more than two years of writing this blog, I still haven’t learned how to predict how people will respond to my writing. The posts I am most proud of—and […]

Election Notes: Doubting Romney

Mitt Romney is looking more and more like the inevitable Republican nominee. Romney won 6 of the 10 Super Tuesday states, including the crucial state of Ohio. He won the […]

Why Ohio Matters

Here’s what we can expect for Super Tuesday. Mitt Romney will win his home state of Massachusetts, the neighboring state of Vermont, and Virginia, where Ron Paul is the only […]

Election Notes: Super Tuesday Eve

Whatever happens next week on Super Tuesday, the race for the Republican nomination is likely going to go on for a while. By winning the Arizona and the Michigan primaries […]