Breaking of the American Social Compact by Frances Fox Piven, Richard A. Cloward |, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Breaking of the American Social Compact

Breaking of the American Social Compact

by Frances Fox Piven, Richard A. Cloward
     
 

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The Breaking of the American Social Compact is a landmark volume from two of our most perceptive social critics. Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward address the tumultuous politics of the past three decades that have culminated in an all-out assault on the American social compact. Delving into the political dynamics behind the rise of the working class in the

Overview

The Breaking of the American Social Compact is a landmark volume from two of our most perceptive social critics. Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward address the tumultuous politics of the past three decades that have culminated in an all-out assault on the American social compact. Delving into the political dynamics behind the rise of the working class in the 1930s and 1960s, Piven and Cloward assign singular importance to disruptive protest and examine the ways protest has dwindled since the 1960s and how many reforms gained then have been swept away. They cover the dramatic changes of recent years, from the breakup of the traditional Democratic Party, to the new power struggles between blacks and whites in northern cities, to the increasing demonization of immigrants and the poor everywhere. Finally, they examine the politics underlying governmental "reform," arguing that the recent devolution of federal authority is simply a strategy to increase the influence of business.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Piven and Cloward (Why Americans Don't Vote) have made careers of arguing the case for the have-nots in our affluent society. In this collection of essays, the authors present an unabashedly left-of-center argument for social policies usually termed the welfare state. They describe the American social compact as a tacit arrangement whereby the better-off agree to shield the working classes from some of the worst hardships imposed by market economies, providing welfare benefits, for example. This arrangement, they maintain, has been shattered, most notably by the decline of progressive elements within the Democratic Party and pressure from business interests on both major parties to assert the law of the marketplace over most forms of government authority. The authors contend that so-called welfare reforms will only further exploit the weak. Their outlook for the future is grim, except for the possible mobilization of womenpoor women uprooted from the protections of the welfare state, allied with better-educated, middle-class women seeking an end to gender discrimination. The authors' analysis of historical trends in such areas as race, trade unions and laissez-faire capitalism provides a thought-provoking antidote to currently popular theories of public policy. Occasionally, however, Piven and Cloward bog down in detail aimed at academic social scientists. (Nov.)
Allen Boyer
Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward, the authors of "Regulating the Poor" and "Why Americans Don't Vote," have long been prominent voices on the American left. In "The Breaking of the American Social Compact," they batter the cliche of globalization. -- Allen D. Boyer, New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565844766
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
09/28/1998
Pages:
464
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

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