Jacob S. Hacker, the Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science, and Paul Pierson, professor of political science at the University of California-Berkeley
(Simon & Schuster)
This book examines what’s good for American business and what’s good for Americans — and why those interests are misaligned. Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson 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 20th century, the authors contend. It spread a previously unimaginable level of broad prosperity. It enabled steep increases in education, health, longevity, and economic security. And yet they believe it is anathema to many current economic and political elites. As the advocates of anti-government free market fundamentalist have gained power, they are intent 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.