What accounts for the precarious state of liberalism in the mid 1980s? Why was the Republican Party able to steal away so many ethnic Democrats of modest means in recent presidential elections? Jonathan Rieder explores these questions in his powerful study of the Jews and Italians of Canarsie, a middle-income community that was once the scene of a wild insurgency against racial busing. Proud bootstrappers, the children of immigrants, Canarsians may speak with piquant New York accents, but their story has a more universal appeal. Canarsie is Middle America, Brooklyn-style.
The advent of economic neoliberalism in the 1980s triggered a shift in the world economy. In the three decades following World War II, now considered a golden age of capitalism, economic growth was high and income inequality decreasing. But in the mid-1970s this social compact was broken as the world economy entered the stagflation crisis, following a decline in the profitability of capital. This crisis opened a new phase of stagnating growth and wages, and unemployment. Interest rates as well as dividend flows rose, and income inequality widened.
The sequence of events initiated by neoliberalism was not unprecedented. In the late nineteenth century, when economic conditions were similar to those of the 1970s, a structural crisis led to the first financial hegemony culminating in the speculative boom of the late 1920s. The authors argue persuasively for stabilizing the world economy before we run headlong into another economic disaster.
Table of Contents:
Part I. Crisis and Neoliberalism 1. The Strange Dynamics of Change 2. Economic Crises and Social Orders
Part II. Crisis and Unemployment 3. The Structural Crisis of the 1970s and 1980s 4. Technical Progress: Accelerating or Slowing? 5. America and Europe: The Creator of Jobs and the Creator of Unemployment 6. Controlling Labor Costs and Reining in the Welfare State 7. Unemployment: Historical Fate? 8. The End of the Crisis?
Part III. The Law of Finance 9. The Interest Rate Shock and the Weight of Dividends 10. Keynesian State Indebtedness and Household Indebtedness 11. An Epidemic of Financial Crises 12. Globalization under Hegemony 13. Financialization: Myth or Reality? 14. Does Finance Feed the Economy? 15. Who Benefits from the Crime?
Part IV. The Lessons of History 16. Historical Precedent: The Crisis at the End of the Nineteenth Century 17. The End of the Structural Crises: Does the Twentieth Century Resemble the Nineteenth? 18. Two Periods of Financial Hegemony: The Beginning and the End of the Twentieth Century 19. Inherent Risks: The 1929 Precedent 20. Capital Mobility and Stock Market Fever 21. Between Two Periods of Financial Hegemony: Thirty Years of Prosperity
Part V. History on the March 22. A Keynesian Interpretation 23. The Dynamics of Capital
Appendix A. Other Studies by the Authors Appendix B. Sources and Calculations Notes Index
This remarkable book offers a closely argued and persuasive interpretation of the political economy of Europe and the U.S. from 1970 to the present, based on a much wider discussion ranging in time from the late 19th century, and touching on the history of the industrializing countries of Asia and Latin America. The interpretation of contemporary political economy offers fresh and challenging perspectives to the ongoing debate about world economic policy. --Duncan K. Foley, The New School for Social Research
Central America and its ill-fated federation (1824-1839) are often viewed as the archetype of the “anarchy” of early independent Spanish America. This book consists of two interralted essays dealing with the economic, social, and political changes that took place in Central America, changes that let to both Liberal regime consolidation and export agricultural development after the middle of the last century. The authors provide a challenging reinterpretation of Central American history and the most detailed analysis available in English of this most heterogeneous and obscure of societies. It avoids the dichotomous (Costa Rica versus the rest of Central America) and the centralist (Guatemala as the standard or model) treatments dominant in the existing literature and is required reading for anyone with an interest in 19th century Latin America.
Western liberal societies are characterized by two stories: a positive story of freedom of conscience and the recognition of community and human rights, and a negative story of unrestrained freedom that leads to self-centeredness, vacuity, and the destructive compromise of human values. Can the Catholic Church play a more meaningful role in assisting liberal societies in telling their better story?
Australian ethicist Robert Gascoigne thinks it can. In The Church and Secularity he considers the meaning of secularity as a shared space for all citizens and asks how the Church can contribute to a sensitivity to—and respect for—human dignity and human rights. Drawing on Augustine’s City of God and Vatican II’s Gaudium et spes, Gascoigne interprets the meaning of freedom in liberal societies through the lens of Augustine’s “two loves,” the love of God and neighbor and the love of self, and reveals how the two are connected to our contemporary experience.
The Church and Secularity argues that the Church can serve liberal societies in a positive way and that its own social identity, rooted in Eucharistic communities, must be bound up with the struggle for human rights and resistance to the commodification of the human in all its forms.
In a tour de force of comparative intellectual history, Mark Hulliung sharply challenges conventional wisdom about the political nature of the "sister republics," America and France.
Hulliung argues that the standard American account of a continuous Jacobin republican tradition--"illiberal to the core"--is fatally misleading. In reality it was the nineteenth-century French liberals who undermined the cause of liberalism, and it was French republicans who eventually saved liberal ideals. And comparison with France provides compelling evidence that the American republic was from the beginning both liberal and republican; Americans have been engaged in the "right debate, wrong country." Antiliberal intellectuals--New Leftists, neoconservatives, and communitarians alike--have disfigured much of the "republican" scholarship by falsely conjuring up a history of the United States wherein rooted and moral republicans once held sway where today we encounter uprooted and amoral liberals.
Lively, stimulating, and sure to be controversial, Citizens and Citoyens is a valuable contribution to the political culture debate.
City of Dignity illuminates how liberal Protestants quietly, yet indelibly, shaped the progressive ethics of postwar Los Angeles.
Contemporary Los Angeles is commonly seen as an American bulwark of progressive secular politics, a place that values immigration, equity, diversity, and human rights. But what accounts for the city’s embrace of such staunchly liberal values, which are more hotly contested in other parts of the country? The answer, Sean Dempsey reveals, lies not with those frequent targets of credit and blame—Democrats in Hollywood—but instead with liberal Protestants and other steadfast religious organizations of the postwar era.
As the Religious Right movement emerged in the 1970s, progressive religious activists quietly began promoting an ethical vision that made waves worldwide but saw the largest impact in its place of origin: metropolitan Los Angeles. At the center of this vision lay the concept of human dignity—entwining the integral importance of political and expressive freedom with the moral sanctity of the human condition—which suffused all of the political values that arose from it, whether tolerance, diversity, or equality of opportunity. The work of these religious organizations birthed such phenomena as the Sanctuary Movement—which provided safe haven for refugees fleeing conflict-torn Central America—and advocacy for the homeless, both of which became increasingly fraught issues amid the rising tides of neoliberalism and conservatism. City of Dignity explores how these interwoven spiritual and theological strands found common ground—and made common impacts—in the humanitarian ecosystem of one of America’s largest and most dynamic metro areas.
Since Israel’s 1967 war, more than 60,000 Jewish-Americans have settled in the occupied territories, transforming politics and sometimes committing shocking acts of terrorism. Yet little is known about why they chose to live at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sara Yael Hirschhorn unsettles stereotypes about these liberal idealists.
American liberals and conservatives alike take for granted a progressive view of the Constitution that took root in the early twentieth century. Richard Epstein laments this complacency which, he believes, explains America's current economic malaise and political gridlock. Steering clear of well-worn debates between defenders of originalism and proponents of a living Constitution, Epstein employs close textual reading, historical analysis, and political and economic theory to urge a return to the classical liberal theory of governance that animated the framers' original constitutional design.
Grounded in the thought of Locke, Hume, Madison, and other Enlightenment figures, classical liberalism emphasized federalism, restricted government, separation of powers, and strong protection of individual rights. New Deal progressives challenged this synthesis by embracing government as a force for social good rather than a necessary evil. The Supreme Court has unwisely ratified the progressive program by sustaining many legislative initiatives at odds with the classical liberal Constitution. Epstein addresses both the Constitution's structural safeguards against state power and its protection of individual rights. He sheds light on contemporary disputes ranging from presidential prerogatives to health care legislation, while exploring such enduring topics as judicial review, economic regulation, freedom of speech and religion, and equal protection.
How did the US judiciary become so powerful—powerful enough that state and federal judges once vied to decide a presidential election? What does this prominence mean for the law, constitutionalism, and liberal democracy? In The Cloaking of Power, Paul O. Carrese provides a provocative analysis of the intellectual sources of today’s powerful judiciary, arguing that Montesquieu, in his Spirit of the Laws, first articulated a new conception of the separation of powers and strong but subtle courts. Montesquieu instructed statesmen to “cloak power” by placing judges at the center of politics, while concealing them behind juries and subtle reforms. Tracing this conception through Blackstone, Hamilton, and Tocqueville, Carrese shows how it led to the prominence of judges, courts, and lawyers in America today. But he places the blame for contemporary judicial activism squarely at the feet of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and his jurisprudential revolution, which he believes to be the source of the now-prevalent view that judging is merely political.
To address this crisis, Carrese argues for a rediscovery of an independent judiciary—one that blends prudence and natural law with common law and that observes the moderate jurisprudence of Montesquieu and Blackstone, balancing abstract principles with realistic views of human nature and institutions. He also advocates for a return to the complex constitutionalism of the American founders and Tocqueville and for judges who understand their responsibility to elevate citizens above individualism, instructing them in law and right.
In this absorbing memoir, Merrill D. Peterson traces his progress from a young Kansas Republican to a "Left Liberal," Democrat by reconstructing how the New Republic singularly influenced his intellectual development and academic career during some of the most turbulent years in American history—the final years of the Great Depression through World War II and the beginnings of the Cold War. Peterson recalls how, as a young man, he was guided to intellectual maturity by such extraordinary individuals as Max Lerner, Archibald MacLeish, Vincent Sheean, Alfred Kazin, Lewis Mumford, and Malcolm Cowley—all contributors to this important magazine. We look back, with Peterson, and see how their views are inextricably reflected in his own developing worldview.
Peterson was introduced to this liberal weekly by one of his teachers during his senior year of high school (1938-1939). For the next ten years, the magazine served as his principal guide to the politics and culture of the times. Now, at seventy-eight years of age, Peterson revisits the magazine that he read so eagerly during those early, impressionable years. With considerable skill and charm, Peterson weaves together the fresh reading, the history of the country during the 1940s, and his own personal history to give us the heart of the book. In addition, he includes brief essays on Vernon L. Parrington, Lewis Mumford, and Max Lerner, the three American writers and intellectuals he believes had the most influence on him.
Peterson discusses several turning points in his young life, but he focuses primarily on his education and the role the magazine played in it. The book concludes when Peterson, with a Ph.D. in the history of American civilization, accepts his first academic appointment, at Brandeis University, and approaches the publication of his first book. Thus, a critical chapter in his life comes to a close.
The Yucatán Peninsula has one of the longest, most multifaceted histories in the Americas. With the arrival of Europeans, native Maya with long and successful cultural and diplomatic traditions of their own had to grapple with outside forces attempting to impose new templates of life and politics on them. Conflict and Carnage in Yucatán provides a rigorously researched study of the vexed and bloody period of 1855 to 1876, during which successive national governments implemented, replaced, and restored liberal policies.
Synthesizing an extensive and heterogeneous range of sources, Douglas W. Richmond covers three tumultuous political upheavals of this period. First, Mexico’s fledgling republic attempted to impose a liberal ideology at odds with traditional Maya culture on Yucatán; then, the French-backed regime of Emperor Maximilian began to reform Yucatán; and, finally, the republican forces of Benito Juárez restored the liberal hegemony. Many issues spurred resistance to these liberal governments. Instillation of free trade policies, the suppression of civil rights, and persecution of the Roman Catholic Church mobilized white opposition to liberal governors. The Mayas fought the seizure of their communal properties. A long-standing desire for regional autonomy united virtually all Yucatecans. Richmond advances the thought-provoking argument that Yucatán both fared better under Maximilian’s Second Empire than under the liberal republic and would have thrived more had the Second Empire not collapsed.
The most violent and bloody manifestation of these broad conflicts was the Caste War (Guerra de Castas), the longest sustained peasant revolt in Latin American history. Where other scholars have advocated the simplistic position that the war was a Maya uprising designed to reestablish a mythical past civilization, Richmond’s sophisticated recounting of political developments from 1855 to 1876 restores nuance and complexity to this pivotal time in Yucatecan history.
Richmond’s Conflict and Carnage in Yucatán is a welcome addition to scholarship about Mexico and Yucatán as well as about state consolidation, empire, and regionalism.
In the 1950s, Milwaukee's strong union movement and socialist mayor seemed to embody a dominant liberal consensus that sought to continue and expand the New Deal. Tula Connell explores how business interests and political conservatives arose to undo that consensus, and how the resulting clash both shaped a city and helped redefine postwar American politics. Connell focuses on Frank Zeidler, the city's socialist mayor. Zeidler's broad concept of the public interest at times defied even liberal expectations. At the same time, a resurgence of conservatism with roots presaging twentieth-century politics challenged his initiatives in public housing, integration, and other areas. As Connell shows, conservatives created an anti-progressive game plan that included a well-funded media and PR push; an anti-union assault essential to the larger project of delegitimizing any government action; opposition to civil rights; and support from a suburban silent majority. In the end, the campaign undermined notions of the common good essential to the New Deal order. It also sowed the seeds for grassroots conservatism's more extreme and far-reaching future success.
In the courts, the best chance for achieving a broad set of rights for gays and lesbians lies with judges who view liberalism as grounded in an expansion of rights rather than a constraint of government activity.
At a time when most gay and lesbian politics focuses only on the issue of gay marriage, Courts, Liberalism, and Rights guides readers through a nuanced discussion of liberalism, court rulings on sodomy laws and same-sex marriage, and the comparative progress gays and lesbians have made via the courts in Canada.
As debates continue about the ability of courts to affect social change, Jason Pierceson argues that this is possible. He claims that the greatest opportunity for reform via the judiciary exists when a judiciary with broad interpretive powers encounters a political culture that endorses a form of liberalism based on broadly conceived individual rights; not a negative set of rights to be held against the state, but a set of rights that recognizes the inherent dignity and worth of every individual.
Why do free people submit to any rule? How is consent of the governed formed? Block argues that the source is found in the nursery and schoolroom, where the necessary synthesis of self-direction and integrative social conduct —so contradictory in logic yet so functional in practice—are established without provoking reservation or resistance.
What kind of property is art? Is it property at all? Jordanna Bailkin's The Culture of Property offers a new historical response to these questions, examining ownership disputes over art objects and artifacts during the crisis of liberalism in the United Kingdom. From the 1870s to the 1920s, Britons fought over prized objects from ancient gold ornaments dug up in an Irish field to a portrait of the Duchess of Milan at the National Gallery in London. They fought to keep these objects in Britain, to repatriate them to their points of origin, and even to destroy them altogether. Bailkin explores these disputes in order to investigate the vexed status of property within modern British politics as well as the often surprising origins of ongoing institutional practices. Bailkin's detailed account of these struggles illuminates the relationship between property and citizenship, which has constituted the heart of liberal politics as well as its greatest weakness.
Drawing on court transcripts, gallery archives, exhibition reviews, private correspondence—and a striking series of cartoons and photographs—The Culture of Property traverses the history of gender, material culture, urban life, colonialism, Irish and Scottish nationalism, and British citizenship. This fascinating book challenges recent scholarship in museum studies in light of ongoing culture wars. It should be required reading for cultural policy makers, museum professionals, and anyone interested in the history of art and Britain.