Winner of the 2020 Outstanding Book Award Presented by the Public and Nonprofit Section of the National Academy of Management
Winner of the 2019 Louis Brownlow Book Award from the National Academy of Public Administration
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ ChoiceResponsibility—which once meant the moral duty to help and support others—has come to be equated with an obligation to be self-sufficient. This has guided recent reforms of the welfare state, making key entitlements conditional on good behavior. Drawing on political theory and moral philosophy, Yascha Mounk shows why this re-imagining of personal responsibility is pernicious—and suggests how it might be overcome.“This important book prompts us to reconsider the role of luck and choice in debates about welfare, and to rethink our mutual responsibilities as citizens.”—Michael J. Sandel, author of Justice“A smart and engaging book… Do we so value holding people accountable that we are willing to jeopardize our own welfare for a proper comeuppance?”—New York Times Book Review“An important new book… [Mounk] mounts a compelling case that political rhetoric…has shifted over the last half century toward a markedly punitive vision of social welfare.”—Los Angeles Review of Books“A terrific book. The insight at its heart—that the conception of responsibility now at work in much public rhetoric and policy is both punitive and ill-conceived—is very important and should be widely heeded.”—Jedediah Purdy, author of After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene
This book provides a comprehensive analysis of federal programs for the aging, and their origins. Landmark federal legislation affecting the aging was enacted in the 1930s, and the intervening decades have witnesses a dramatic increase in the number and scope of programs. But far from constituting a cohesive national policy for the elderly, the many programs reflect the particular political and social conditions surrounding their origin and implementation. The multiplicity and complexity of resources and services available make achieving even a reasonable grasp of this field extremely difficult. This study offers a coherent and readable summary of this important area of federal legislation.
America Unequal demonstrates how powerful economic forces have diminished the prospects of millions of Americans and why "a rising tide no longer lifts all boats." Changes in the economy, public policies, and family structure have contributed to slow growth in family incomes and rising economic inequality. Poverty remains high because of an erosion of employment opportunities for less-skilled workers, not because of an erosion of the work ethic; because of a failure of government to do more for the poor and the middle class, not because of social programs.There is nothing about a market economy, the authors say, that ensures that a rising standard of living will reduce inequality. If a new technology, such as computerization, leads firms to hire more managers and fewer typists, then the wages of lower-paid secretaries will decline and the wages of more affluent managers will increase. Such technological changes as well as other economic changes, particularly the globalization of markets, have had precisely this effect on the distribution of income in the United States.America Unequal challenges the view, emphasized in the Republicans' "Contract with America," that restraining government social spending and cutting welfare should be our top domestic priorities. Instead, it proposes a set of policies that would reduce poverty by supplementing the earnings of low-wage workers and increasing the employment prospects of the jobless. Such demand-side policies, Sheldon Danziger and Peter Gottschalk argue, are essential for correcting a labor market that has been increasingly unable to absorb less-skilled and less-experienced workers.
This illustrated collection of annotated newspaper articles and memorials by Dorothea Dix provides a forum for the great mid-nineteenth-century humanitarian and reformer to speak for herself.
Dorothea Lynde Dix (1802–87) was perhaps the most famous and admired woman in America for much of the nineteenth century. Beginning in the early 1840s, she launched a personal crusade to persuade the various states to provide humane care and effective treatment for the mentally ill by funding specialized hospitals for that purpose. The appalling conditions endured by most mentally ill inmates in prisons, jails, and poorhouses led her to take an active interest also in prison reform and in efforts to ameliorate poverty.
In 1846–47 Dix brought her crusade to Illinois. She presented two lengthy memorials to the legislature, the first describing conditions at the state penitentiary at Alton and the second discussing the sufferings of the insane and urging the establishment of a state hospital for their care. She also wrote a series of newspaper articles detailing conditions in the jails and poorhouses of many Illinois communities.
These long-forgotten documents, which appear in unabridged form in this book, contain a wealth of information on the living conditions of some of the most unfortunate inhabitants of Illinois. In his preface, David L. Lightner describes some of the vivid images that emerge from Dorothea Dix's descriptions of social conditions in Illinois a century and a half ago: "A helpless maniac confined throughout the bitter cold of winter to a dark and filthy pit. Prison inmates chained in hallways and cellars because no more men can be squeezed into the dank and airless cells. Aged paupers auctioned off by county officers to whoever will maintain them at the lowest cost."
Lightner provides an introduction to every document, placing each memorial and newspaper article in its proper social and historical context. He also furnishes detailed notes, making these documents readily accessible to readers a century and a half later. In his final chapter, Lightner assesses both the immediate and the continuing impact of Dix's work.
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