The Conscience of a Liberal [NOOK Book]

Overview

"The most consistent and courageous?and unapologetic?liberal partisan in American journalism." ?Michael Tomasky, New York Review of Books


In this "clear, provocative" (Boston Globe) New York Times bestseller, Paul Krugman, today's most widely read economist, examines the past eighty years of American history, from the reforms that tamed the harsh inequality of the Gilded Age and the 1920s to the unraveling of that achievement and the ...

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The Conscience of a Liberal

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Overview

"The most consistent and courageous—and unapologetic—liberal partisan in American journalism." —Michael Tomasky, New York Review of Books


In this "clear, provocative" (Boston Globe) New York Times bestseller, Paul Krugman, today's most widely read economist, examines the past eighty years of American history, from the reforms that tamed the harsh inequality of the Gilded Age and the 1920s to the unraveling of that achievement and the reemergence of immense economic and political inequality since the 1970s. Seeking to understand both what happened to middle-class America and what it will take to achieve a "new New Deal," Krugman has created his finest book to date, a "stimulating manifesto" offering "a compelling historical defense of liberalism and a clarion call for Americans to retake control of their economic destiny" (Publishers Weekly).


"As Democrats seek a rationale not merely for returning to power, but for fundamentally changing—or changing back—the relationship between America's government and its citizens, Mr. Krugman's arguments will prove vital in the months and years ahead." —Peter Beinart, New York Times

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Editorial Reviews

Peter Beinart
Repeatedly in The Conscience of a Liberal Mr. Krugman suggests that things we take for granted about the United States economy…are not inevitable at all. Political choices, he argues, not economic laws, have made the United States a nation of the very rich, the very poor and an increasingly fragile middle class…His claims are convincing not only because he discusses complex economic questions with rare lucidity and skill, but also because of who he is. Icon destroyers are most powerful when they hail from within the priestly elite…Readers interested in understanding liberalism's decline and radical conservatism's rise can find better books. But those who turn to Mr. Krugman to understand what's unjust about the United States economy, and why it doesn't have to be this way, will be amply rewarded. And as Democrats seek a rationale not merely for returning to power, but for fundamentally changing—or changing back—the relationship between America's government and its citizens, Mr. Krugman's arguments will prove vital in the months and years ahead.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Economist and New York Timescolumnist Krugman's stimulating manifesto aims to galvanize today's progressives the way Barry Goldwater's The Conscience of a Conservativedid right-wingers in 1964. Krugman's great theme is economic equality and the liberal politics that support it. "America's post-war middle-class society" was not the automatic product of a free-market economy, he writes, but "was created... by the policies of the Roosevelt Administration." By strengthening labor unions and taxing the rich to fund redistributive programs like Social Security and Medicare, the New Deal consensus narrowed the income gap, lifted the working class out of poverty and made the economy boom. Things went awry, Krugman contends, with the Republican Party's takeover by "movement conservatism," practicing a politics of "deception [and] distraction" to advance the interests of the wealthy. Conservative initiatives to cut taxes for the rich, dismantle social programs and demolish unions, he argues, have led to sharply rising inequality, with the incomes of the wealthiest soaring while those of most workers stagnate. Krugman's accessible, stylishly presented argument deftly combines economic data with social and political analysis; his account of the racial politics driving conservative successes is especially sharp. The result is a compelling historical defense of liberalism and a clarion call for Americans to retake control of their economic destiny. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

In this eloquent defense of liberalism, New York Timesop-ed columnist Krugman (economics; Princeton Univ.; The Great Unraveling) drafts a blueprint for progressive political change. His central theme is that current liberals are actually politically conservative because they want to preserve and expand upon the effective policies of Roosevelt's New Deal. Conversely, the Republican Party, in his view, has today been taken over by "movement conservatives" whose chief goal is to dismantle the New Deal. Arguing that trends are shifting in favor of liberal and progressive approaches to governing, Krugman provides a perceptive critique of why Clinton's 1993 health insurance proposal failed and how liberals can avoid the same mistakes. His themes are similar to those expressed by Douglas Massey in Return of the "L" Wordand Robert Reich in Reason, but Krugman is better able to explain his views to a general readership. The book will be in great demand in both public and academic libraries and may even lead some readers to Krugman's more scholarly writings. [See Prepub Alert, LJ6/1/07.]
—Thomas A. Karel

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393067118
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/12/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 214,649
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)
  • File size: 422 KB

Meet the Author

Paul Krugman
Paul Krugman is the recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics. He is a best-selling author, columnist, and blogger for the New York Times, and is a professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University.
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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Paperback Edition ix

1 The Way We Were 3

2 The Long Gilded Age 15

3 The Great Compression 37

4 The Politics of the Welfare State 57

5 The Sixties: A Troubled Prosperity 79

6 Movement Conservatism 101

7 The Great Divergence 124

8 The Politics of Inequality 153

9 Weapons of Mass Distraction 173

10 The New Politics of Equality 198

11 The Health Care Imperative 214

12 Confronting Inequality 244

13 The Conscience of a Liberal 265

Notes 275

Acknowledgments 285

Index 287

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 37 )
Rating Distribution

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(20)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

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2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Book For The Average Joe

    For someone such as myself, that loves politics but lacks the intellect to absorb some of the heavy hitters, this book really hits a home run. Krugman writes in a way that the average person can understand the vast differences between todays conservatives and the progressive liberals. I especially liked the background and statistics he gives of how the Great Compression came about - how the disparity between rich and poor shrank during this time, but has now reversed course and is now equal to or greater than what is was before the Great Depression. Not only does he explain this clearly but outlines ways in which we can bring back better times for the middle class. Krugman is a great Nobel winning economist and a great writer. I highly recommend this book. If you like this book, I might also recommend "The Squandering of America" and "Obama's Challenge" both by Robert Kuttner.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Goldwater he is not!

    Krugman is a liberal hack: too biased to give an honest statement, too blind to admit when he dead wrong (which is often!). If you are liberal, there are MUCH better reads than this guy. To put him in the same conversation as Goldwater is laughable.

    4 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2007

    Please read, America

    The review above and the NY Times review state it very clearly. Any 'conservative' who is intellectually honest enough to listen to the other side should read this. By returning to a new Gilded Age we are slowly destroying what made our country become great from the 1930's on. We are weakening our middle class.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2010

    Madison, OSU Comp Student 2010

    Reading and evaluating The Conscience of a Liberal has broadened my awareness for the impact of economic inequality on more than just statistics, but also of the evident damage inflicted upon all social classes. Krugman's argument detailing the detrimental rise in American socio-economic inequality is both well supported and well organized. By providing adequate background information Krugman lays a strong foundation followed by his intellectual dismantling of the GOP, the party he claims is responsible for the rise in inequality.
    With the bulk of the argument written in 2007 and published again with an updated introduction in 2009, Krugman's references to the troubled housing market, the 2008 election, and the goals of the Obama administration make the text greatly applicable to readers looking for answers in the current economy.
    I would strongly recommend this book someone who is a faithful Democrat and is supportive of the liberal agenda, or to anyone interested in the American political and economic environment of the past, present and future.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2012

    Must Read

    This should be required reading for all republicans before they are allowed to vote.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2008

    Great Author, Great Book

    Krugman is one of my favorite authors, and he does not let me down with this book. It is a quick and informative read. I would recommend it to anyone interested in saving the American middle class.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 16, 2013

    Great book, well written.  Essentially this summarizes the incon

    Great book, well written.  Essentially this summarizes the inconvenient history of the modern day Republican party, which Krugman calls the "movement conservatives".  Krugman also talks about demographic trends and what that means for politics in the future, as well as a general outline of what liberals need to accomplish concerning healthcare and more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Defines the Two Main Political Parties

    Paul Krugman has published a wonderful book that has personally helped me fill in the gaps of what it means to be a republican or democrat in the United States (through the lens of being a liberal).

    The books premise is based on the causes of economic inequality through the hisotry of politics and how it could be fixed (although I feel his proposition is a little unrealistic).

    Paul's book also explains in political and economic terms the necessitiy of health care and what effect it would have (written before the Affordable Care Act's passage) on reducing economic inequality and how its importance helps define a nation.

    The main lesson I have taken away from this book is that polity definitely influences the economy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2012

    And so

    For all you people, read Liberal Fasistism and see the truth about the new deal. And how the left tries to keep colered people in a higher place and that ist rasiaism? P.S. Im black myself

    1 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2012

    Highly recommended; Economic citizenship 101

    Terrific book by a Nobel Prize winning economist - who is nevertheless humane, easily readable and politically savvy.

    Book begins with discussion of the Gilded Age, where a few unregulated rich owned most of the country's wealth, dominated the electoral system with huge campaign contributions, and paid next to nothing in taxes; while most lived on the edge of poverty, with no safety net. He then describes development of government regulation (women's rights, food safety legislation, progressive income tax, labor unions) in first 30 years of 20th century; and the development of government as an equalizing force, creating a mass middle class, during and following the Great Depression.

    Krugman then chronicles, beginning about 40 years ago, the resurgence of a radical right, committed to returning country to a renewed gilded age; and the consequent overall economic decline / collapse as ordinary folks can no longer spend enough to keep the economy going. Krugman then lays out a path for returning to a more just society.

    This is done with solid documentation, described without graphs in common sense language - economics for the rest of us.

    Every American should be aware of this history. This is basic good citizenship reading. Read the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent

    Paul Krugman has done an excellent job explaining the situation in which our country has now found itself in terms of economic inequality. He provides an enlightening history of inequality in this country spanning from the late 1800's to the 1920's and how that all changed with the coming of the New Deal. Krugman also details the rise of the middle class and the threats to it that have arisen over past couple of decades. He also describes the rise of the conservative movement and its complicity in the rising inequality of today. He also provides solutions for inequality. Moreover, the book was easy to read and enlightening. A must read for all middle and working class people.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2007

    A reviewer

    This was an excellent book. It is easy to read and easy to understand. Dr. Krugman does an excellent job of comparing and contrasting the U.S. economy over the last 100 years as well as drawing comparisions between the U.S. and other industrialized nations. I learned so very much from this book. Dr. Krugman has outdone himself.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 18, 2011

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    Posted March 29, 2011

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    Posted May 4, 2011

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    Posted January 3, 2011

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    Posted August 9, 2009

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    Posted August 29, 2011

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    Posted February 18, 2009

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    Posted March 17, 2011

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