SOURCE: Special to HNN
Jim Cullen: Review of George Packer's "The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013)
Coming in at over 400 hefty pages, The Unwinding offers a granular, empirical confirmation, at the level of lived experience, of what many of us experience as the defining perception of our time. And that is that we are moving backward, that the hard-won gains of the welfare state -- a story whose lineaments Richard Hofstadter sketched in The Age of Reform (1955) and whose trajectory extended into the Great Society -- are unraveling at an accelerating rate.
by Mark Blyth
Credit: Oxford University Press.This book has a rather unusual genesis. David McBride from Oxford University Press emailed me in July 2010 and asked me if I wanted to write a book about the turn to austerity in economic policy. I had been playing with a book idea called “The End of the Liberal World” for a while but really hadn't been getting all that far with it. Dave's offer seemed to be a ready-made alternative project. After all, someone had to write such a book, and since I had, as bankers say, “skin in the game” here, for reasons I shall elaborate below, I said yes. Shortly thereafter Geoffrey Kirkman, Associate Director of the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, where I am a faculty fellow, wondered if there was anything that I would like to make into a short video. I say yes – I'd do something about this new book that I have agreed to write.
Michael Lind is the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and co-founder of the New America Foundation. Few conservative misconceptions are more deeply rooted than the idea than the welfare state competes with the market for resources. In fact, modern business and the modern welfare state have grown up together –and both have grown at the expense of the family.Before the industrial revolution, most production as well as most care-giving was performed within the farm household, by family members. You churned your own butter and you cared for your children, your elderly parents and your sick spouse at home.Thanks to the development of machinery powered by mined or collected energy—be it coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear or renewable energy—most production has long since moved out of the household into mechanized factories. You now buy your factory-produced butter in a store.
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