Social Democratic America

Oxford University Press
2
Free sample

America is the one of the wealthiest nations on earth. So why do so many Americans struggle to make ends meet? Why is it so difficult for those who start at the bottom to reach the middle class? And why, if a rising economic tide lifts all boats, have middle-class incomes been growing so slowly? Social Democratic America explains how this has happened and how we can do better. Lane Kenworthy convincingly argues that we can improve economic security, expand opportunity, and ensure rising living standards for all by moving toward social democracy. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of social policy in America and other affluent countries, he proposes a set of public social programs, including universal early education, an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, wage insurance, the government as employer of last resort, and many others. Kenworthy looks at common objections to social democracy, such as the oft-repeated claim that Americans don't want big government, which he readily debunks. Indeed, we already have in place a host of effective and popular social programs, from Social Security to Medicare to public schooling. Moreover, the available evidence suggests that rich nations can generate the tax revenues needed to pay for generous social programs while maintaining an innovative and growing economy, and without restricting liberty. Can it happen? Kenworthy describes how the US has been progressing slowly but steadily toward a genuine social democracy for nearly a century. Controversial and powerful, Social Democratic America shows that the good society doesn't require a radical break from our past; we just need to continue in the direction we are already heading.
Read more

About the author

Lane Kenworthy is Professor of Sociology and Political Science at the University of Arizona. He is author of Progress for the Poor, Jobs with Equality, and Egalitarian Capitalism. His writings have appeared in the Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, and on his blog, Consider the Evidence.
Read more
5.0
2 total
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
Read more
Published on
Dec 3, 2013
Read more
Pages
240
Read more
ISBN
9780199322534
Read more
Language
English
Read more
Genres
Political Science / Public Policy / Economic Policy
Political Science / Public Policy / Social Policy
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
Declining participation in labor unions, the movement toward a service-based economy, and increased globalization have cast doubt on the extent to which welfare states can continue to stem inequality in market economies over the long-term. Does the new economy render existing models of social assistance obsolete? Do traditional welfare states hamper economic and employment growth, thereby worsening the plight of the poor? Lane Kenworthy offers a rigorous empirical analysis of these questions in Egalitarian Capitalism. The book examines sixteen industrialized countries in North America, Western Europe, and Scandinavia—each with different approaches to assisting the poor—to see how successful each has been in developing its economy and curbing inequality over the past twenty years.

Kenworthy finds that inequality grew in almost all of these countries, from the most progressive to the least. Using simple but powerful statistical tests, he assesses the theory that inequality is necessary to improve economic growth and reduce poverty. He finds no necessary trade-off between equality and economic growth but discovers some evidence that high minimum wages dampen employment growth in private sector services. Kenworthy suggests that without greater private sector employment, public supports may be unable to adequately sustain living standards for the poor. An equitable growth strategy necessitates a balance of policy options: Creating jobs is aided by loose employment regulation, low payroll taxes, and, in some cases, lower real wages for workers at the bottom of the income spectrum. However, high employment is also facilitated by a system that “makes work pay” with earnings subsidies, workplace flexibilities, financial support for those who are between jobs or unable to work, and universal health and child care coverage. Kenworthy suggests that these strategies, though generally presented as mutually exclusive, could be effectively combined to create a robust, fair economy.

Egalitarian Capitalism addresses fundamental questions of national policy with rigorous scholarship and a clarity that makes it accessible to any reader interested in the alleged trade-off between social equity and market efficiency. The book analyzes the viability of traditional welfare regimes and offers sustainable options that can promote egalitarian societies without hampering economic progress.

A Volume in the American Sociological Association’s Rose Series in Sociology
NAMED A BEST/MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2018 BY: Chicago Tribune • Time

A stunning follow up to New York Times bestseller Tears We Cannot Stop

Chris Matthews, MSNBC: "A beautifully written book."

Shaun King: “I kid you not–I think it’s the most important book I’ve read all year...It’s not just informative and enlightening; it tells a story of an essential moment in history.”

Harry Belafonte says: “Dyson has finally written the book I always wanted to read. I had the privilege of attending the meeting he has insightfully written about, and it’s as if he were a fly on the wall...a tour de force...a poetically written work that calls on all of us to get back in that room and to resolve the racial crises we confronted more than fifty years ago.”

Joy-Ann Reid says: A work of searing prose and seminal brilliance... Dyson takes that once in a lifetime conversation between black excellence and pain and the white heroic narrative, and drives it right into the heart of our current politics and culture, leaving the reader reeling and reckoning."

Robin D. G. Kelley says:“Dyson masterfully refracts our present racial conflagration through a subtle reading of one of the most consequential meetings about race to ever take place. In so doing, he reminds us that Black artists and intellectuals bear an awesome responsibility to speak truth to power."

President Barack Obama says: "Everybody who speaks after Michael Eric Dyson pales in comparison.”

In 2015 BLM activist Julius Jones confronted Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with an urgent query: “What in your heart has changed that’s going to change the direction of this country?” “I don’t believe you just change hearts,” she protested. “I believe you change laws.”

The fraught conflict between conscience and politics – between morality and power – in addressing race hardly began with Clinton. An electrifying and traumatic encounter in the sixties crystallized these furious disputes.

In 1963 Attorney General Robert Kennedy sought out James Baldwin to explain the rage that threatened to engulf black America. Baldwin brought along some friends, including playwright Lorraine Hansberry, psychologist Kenneth Clark, and a valiant activist, Jerome Smith. It was Smith’s relentless, unfiltered fury that set Kennedy on his heels, reducing him to sullen silence.

Kennedy walked away from the nearly three-hour meeting angry – that the black folk assembled didn’t understand politics, and that they weren’t as easy to talk to as Martin Luther King. But especially that they were more interested in witness than policy. But Kennedy’s anger quickly gave way to empathy, especially for Smith. “I guess if I were in his shoes...I might feel differently about this country.” Kennedy set about changing policy – the meeting having transformed his thinking in fundamental ways.

There was more: every big argument about race that persists to this day got a hearing in that room. Smith declaring that he’d never fight for his country given its racist tendencies, and Kennedy being appalled at such lack of patriotism, tracks the disdain for black dissent in our own time. His belief that black folk were ungrateful for the Kennedys’ efforts to make things better shows up in our day as the charge that black folk wallow in the politics of ingratitude and victimhood. The contributions of black queer folk to racial progress still cause a stir. BLM has been accused of harboring a covert queer agenda. The immigrant experience, like that of Kennedy – versus the racial experience of Baldwin – is a cudgel to excoriate black folk for lacking hustle and ingenuity. The questioning of whether folk who are interracially partnered can authentically communicate black interests persists. And we grapple still with the responsibility of black intellectuals and artists to bring about social change.

What Truth Sounds Like exists at the tense intersection of the conflict between politics and prophecy – of whether we embrace political resolution or moral redemption to fix our fractured racial landscape. The future of race and democracy hang in the balance.

America is the one of the wealthiest nations on earth. So why do so many Americans struggle to make ends meet? Why is it so difficult for those who start at the bottom to reach the middle class? And why, if a rising economic tide lifts all boats, have middle-class incomes been growing so slowly? Social Democratic America explains how this has happened and how we can do better. Lane Kenworthy convincingly argues that we can improve economic security, expand opportunity, and ensure rising living standards for all by moving toward social democracy. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of social policy in America and other affluent countries, he proposes a set of public social programs, including universal early education, an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, wage insurance, the government as employer of last resort, and many others. Kenworthy looks at common objections to social democracy, such as the oft-repeated claim that Americans don't want big government, which he readily debunks. Indeed, we already have in place a host of effective and popular social programs, from Social Security to Medicare to public schooling. Moreover, the available evidence suggests that rich nations can generate the tax revenues needed to pay for generous social programs while maintaining an innovative and growing economy, and without restricting liberty. Can it happen? Kenworthy describes how the US has been progressing slowly but steadily toward a genuine social democracy for nearly a century. Controversial and powerful, Social Democratic America shows that the good society doesn't require a radical break from our past; we just need to continue in the direction we are already heading.
Declining participation in labor unions, the movement toward a service-based economy, and increased globalization have cast doubt on the extent to which welfare states can continue to stem inequality in market economies over the long-term. Does the new economy render existing models of social assistance obsolete? Do traditional welfare states hamper economic and employment growth, thereby worsening the plight of the poor? Lane Kenworthy offers a rigorous empirical analysis of these questions in Egalitarian Capitalism. The book examines sixteen industrialized countries in North America, Western Europe, and Scandinavia—each with different approaches to assisting the poor—to see how successful each has been in developing its economy and curbing inequality over the past twenty years.

Kenworthy finds that inequality grew in almost all of these countries, from the most progressive to the least. Using simple but powerful statistical tests, he assesses the theory that inequality is necessary to improve economic growth and reduce poverty. He finds no necessary trade-off between equality and economic growth but discovers some evidence that high minimum wages dampen employment growth in private sector services. Kenworthy suggests that without greater private sector employment, public supports may be unable to adequately sustain living standards for the poor. An equitable growth strategy necessitates a balance of policy options: Creating jobs is aided by loose employment regulation, low payroll taxes, and, in some cases, lower real wages for workers at the bottom of the income spectrum. However, high employment is also facilitated by a system that “makes work pay” with earnings subsidies, workplace flexibilities, financial support for those who are between jobs or unable to work, and universal health and child care coverage. Kenworthy suggests that these strategies, though generally presented as mutually exclusive, could be effectively combined to create a robust, fair economy.

Egalitarian Capitalism addresses fundamental questions of national policy with rigorous scholarship and a clarity that makes it accessible to any reader interested in the alleged trade-off between social equity and market efficiency. The book analyzes the viability of traditional welfare regimes and offers sustainable options that can promote egalitarian societies without hampering economic progress.

A Volume in the American Sociological Association’s Rose Series in Sociology
©2018 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.