The article distinguishes three categories of hope: private, collective, and public. Public hope is hope that is invoked by political actors in relation to a societal goal of some kind. The article argues that public hope is the most dangerous kind of hope. The argument is developed using the recent history of trade negotiations between the United States and developing countries concerning intellectual property rights as they relate to life-saving medicines for AIDS. Public hope may allow political actors to harness emotionally collectivities to economic and social agendas that are poorly understood by those collectivities and that are ultimately destructive of the social institutions upon which actual private and collective hopes depend. Or public hope maybe secret hope that drives policies that escape public notice until it is too late. The final section of the article identifies four principles that help to make public hope a contingent force for the good.
|Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
|Published - 2004