The Good Life and Its Discontents: The American Dream in the Age of Entitlement (Google eBook)
A New York Times Business Book Bestseller
"Shrewd and optimistic. . . . [The Good Life and Its Discontents] combines first-rate analysis with persuasive historical, political and sociological insights."
--The New Republic
Today Americans are wealthier, healthier, and live longer than at any previous time in our history. As a society, we have never had it so good. Yet, paradoxically, many of us have never felt so bad. For, as Robert J. Samuelson observes in this visionary book, our country suffers from a national sense of entitlement--a feeling that someone, whether Big Business or Big Government, should guarantee us secure jobs, rising living standards, social harmony, and personal fulfillment.
In The Good Life and Its Discontents, Samuelson, a national columnist for Newsweek and the Washington Post, links our rising expectations with our belief in a post-Cold War vision of an American utopia. Using history, economics, and psychology, he exposes the hubris of economists and corporate managers and indicts a government that promises too much to too many constituencies. Like David Reisman's The Lonely Crowd and John Kenneth Galbraith's The Affluent Society, the result is a book that defines its time--and that is sure to shape the national debate for years to come.
"A smart, balanced epitaph for an era--with a few clues for what's ahead."
"Lucid [and] nonsectarian . . . Samuelson traces how the reasonable demand for progress has given way to the excessive demand for perfection."
--The New York Times
From the Trade Paperback edition.
What people are saying - Write a review
The good life and its discontents: the American dream in the age of entitlement, 1945-1995User Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Columnist and economics commentator Samuelson (The Numbskull Factor, Times, 1993) asks why "a society that satisfies us most of the time has also convinced many of us that it's rolling inexorably ... Read full review
10Borrow and Spend
14Responsibility Not Entitlement
15Crisis or Consensus?
5The Apostles of Control
7The Myth of Management
8The Real Economy
IIIThe Politics of Overpromise
Afterword to the Vintage Edition
Public OpinionPrivate Optimism Public Pessimism
Income and Living Standards
affirmative action American Enterprise Institute Americans average balanced budget banks become believe benefits better blacks Bureau business cycles century changes Cold War companies Congress corporate costs created decades decline Depression early economic growth economists economy’s entitlement equality example expectations families Federal Reserve Frederick Lewis Allen Gallup Poll government’s gross domestic product groups higher households huge ideas improved income increase increasingly individuals industrial inequality inflation institutions interest rates investment Keynesian labor leaders less living standards mainly major Marshall Plan median Medicaid Medicare million modern pensions people’s percent policies political Poll popular postwar President problems production profits programs prosperity public opinion quote recessions regulations responsibility rising Second World Second World War seemed sense simply Social Security society spending supply-side economics taxes technologies today’s unemployment United wages Washington welfare what’s workers York