American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper

By Jacob S Hacker, Paul Pierson
From the groundbreaking author team behind the bestselling Winner-Take-All Politics, a timely and topical work that examines what s good for American business and what s good for Americans and why those interests are misaligned.
In Winner-Take-All Politics, Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson explained how political elites have enabled and propelled plutocracy. Now in American Amnesia, they trace the economic and political history of the United States over the last century and show how a viable mixed economy has long been the dominant engine of America s prosperity.
Like every other prospering democracy, the United States developed a mixed economy that channeled the spirit of capitalism into strong growth and healthy social development. In this bargain, government and business were as much partners as rivals. Public investments in education, science, transportation, and technology laid the foundation for broadly based prosperity. Programs of economic security and progressive taxation provided a floor of protection and business focused on the pursuit of profit and government addressed needs business could not.
The mixed economy was the most important social innovation of the twentieth century. It spread a previously unimaginable level of broad prosperity. It enabled steep increases in education, health, longevity, and economic security. And yet, extraordinarily, it is anathema to many current economic and political elites. And as the advocates of anti-government free market fundamentalist have gained power, they are hell-bent on scrapping the instrument of nearly a century of unprecedented economic and social progress. In American Amnesia, Hacker and Pierson explain how and why they must be stopped."


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Economists have long studied markets and the taxonomy of market failure. Public choice theorists have helped understand the many ways in which government can fail. But we are too often presented with only two alternatives, one in which broken markets are fixed by an imagined perfect government while, in another, broken governments are fixed by an imagined ideal market. The truth is that we need both the market and the state: the market brings us prosperity and helps guarantee our liberty but there is much that is impossible without collective action. In this lively, engaging, and persuasive book, Hacker and Pierson explain how much of our health and prosperity rests on what governments have done. "American Amnesia "will help slow the intellectual pendulum that is currently swinging towards ananarchic libertarianism that threatens more than a century of American progress. Angus Deaton, winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics in 2015"
"The clearest explanation yet of the forces that converged over the past three decades or so to undermine the economic well-being of ordinary Americans." Bob Herbert, "The New York Times ""



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About the Hardcover

Publisher Simon & Schuster
Publish date 03/29/2016
Pages 464
ISBN-13 9781451667820
ISBN-10 1451667825
Language English

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