American Political Economy in Global Perspective

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Cambridge University Press, Feb 29, 2012 - Business & Economics - 360 pages
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This book is a guide to claims about the proper role of government and markets in a global economy. Moving between systematic comparison of 19 rich democracies and debate about what the United States can do to restore a more civilized, egalitarian, and fair society, Harold L. Wilensky tells us how six of these countries got on a low road to economic progress and which components of their labor-crunch strategy are uniquely American. He provides an overview of the impact of major dimensions of globalization, only one of which - the interaction of the internationalization of finance and the rapid increase in the autonomy of central banks - undermines either national sovereignty or job security, labor standards, and the welfare state. Although Wilensky views American policy and politics through the lens of globalization, he concludes that the nation-state remains the center of personal identity, social solidarity, and political action. He concentrates on what national differences mean for the well-being of nations and their people. Drawing on lessons from abroad and from America's own past successes, Wilensky shows how we can reverse our three-decade decline. He argues that, in order to get off the low road, we must overcome the myths of "moderation," the rise of the "independent voter," and a rightward shift of the electorate. He specifies a feasible domestic agenda that matches majority sentiments in all rich democracies.
 

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Contents

The Welfare State as the Center of Public Finance and Political Conflict
3
Energy Policy and Performance The United States and the World
15
What Trade Offs Are Good and Bad for the Economy? Domestic Structures and Policies That Permit Adaptation to Globalization
42
Retrenchment of the Welfare State? The Fate of Cutback Budgeting in Italy France Germany the United States the United Kingdom and New Zealand
56
Pensions Converge U S Health Care Remains Unique
67
The Impact of Globalization An Overview
88
Moving the United States Off the Low Road
153
Low Road vs High Road American Exceptionalism?
155
Policy Implications for the United States How to Get Off the Low Road
191
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About the author (2012)

Harold L. Wilensky is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been twice a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He is the author of 75 articles and 13 previous books, including Industrial Society and Social Welfare (1958, 1965), Organizational Intelligence: Knowledge and Policy in Government and Industry (1967, 1969), The Welfare State and Equality (1975) and Rich Democracies (2002). Before joining the University of California in 1963, he taught at the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago.

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