The Price Is Right

HLS Professor Cass Sunstein ’78 argues that for all their differences, every president since Ronald Reagan has agreed on one fundamental principle of government. That is, “No action may be taken unless the benefits justify the costs.” Sunstein identifies President Reagan as the main architect of this concept, and he credits the president he served under, Barack Obama ’91, with cementing what he calls “the cost-benefit revolution,” which is also the title of Sunstein’s new book.

On the Bookshelf: HLS Library Book Talks, Spring 2018

The Harvard Law School Library hosted a series of book talks by HLS authors, with topics including Authoritarianism in America, the Supreme Court of India, and Legal Reasoning and Political Conflict. As part of this ongoing series, faculty authors from various disciplines shared their research and discussed their recently published books with a panel of colleagues and the Harvard Law community.

A State of Danger?

“It Can’t Happen Here,” the novel by Sinclair Lewis written in the 1930s as fascism was rising in Europe, imagines an America overtaken by an authoritarian regime. The new book edited by Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein ’78, “Can It Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America” (Dey Street Books), does not predict the same fate. Yet the contributors—several also affiliated with Harvard Law—take seriously the possibility that it could happen here, despite the safeguards built into the American system of government.