After all, protecting the little guy against corporate shenanigans (of which there is plenty today) is a traditional mission of progressivism. Yet for most of their history, progressives have sought to empower government agencies (think SEC and OSHA) to do the protecting. That’s still a worthy and necessary impulse. But there’s another, more populist strain of that tradition, one that has sought to use government to empower individuals to protect themselves (think Ralph Nader’s 1960s consumer movement). We’ve been wondering if it might not be possible to update that sort of thinking. And so we asked the five writers whose work follows to come up with ways to strengthen the hand of the average American in the 21st-century marketplace.

Taking Charge
Attention credit card companies: When we want you to charge us hidden fees, we’ll let you know.
by Robert Gordon and Derek Douglas

The Joy of Flex
Employees shouldn’t need an excuse to get flexible work schedules. Employers should need a reason not to give them.
by Karen Kornbluh