Using the concept of "crowding out," can you explain how government might be the cause of social problems rather than the solution to social problems? In your explanation, you must correctly use the 3 concepts of "crowding out," "cross-cutting cleavages," and "civil society."

With crowding out, the government might be the problem because it spends too much money on affluent, private sectors. With cross-cutting cleavages, government could be the problem because politicians regularly run divisive campaigns that reinforce supposed differences. With civil society, it’s possible to see the government as the problem because, in many instances, non-governmental groups are more responsive than government organizations.

Expert Answers

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With crowding out, it’s possible to argue that the government is spending too much money and is too involved in the economy. However, such an argument should note that it’s employing crowding out in a unique way. Typically, crowding out coveys the belief that increased spending from the government diminishes spending and investment from the private sector. What some see as happening now is that the government is spending too much money on the private sector—e.g, Wall Street firms—and not enough money on areas that would help the general public, like healthcare.

As for cross-cutting cleavages, it’d be interesting to think about how government leaders don’t want people to think about how they might cut across demographics and have more in common with other people than they might presume. Regardless of their party affiliation, many voters likely share overlapping concerns, including the lack of affordable healthcare and precarious employment. Yet if voters realized their similarities, that alignment could pose a threat to the two-party system that regularly runs the government.

Finally, civil society is often praised for functioning more effectively than government agencies and organizations. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, people have created their own groups to do things that the government is supposed to do, like help feed people. Yet if non-governmental organizations work better than government ones, it becomes reasonable to wonder what the government is doing and who it is actually helping.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 23, 2021
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