The Good Life and Its Discontents: The American Dream in the Age of Entitlement

The Good Life and Its Discontents: The American Dream in the Age of Entitlement

by Robert J. Samuelson
     
 

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Today Americans are wealthier, healthier, and live longer than at any previous time in our history. As a society, we have never had it so good. Yet, paradoxically, many of us have never felt so bad. For, as Robert J. Samuelson observes in this visionary book, our country suffers from a national sense of entitlement - a feeling that someone, whether Big Business or Big… See more details below

Overview

Today Americans are wealthier, healthier, and live longer than at any previous time in our history. As a society, we have never had it so good. Yet, paradoxically, many of us have never felt so bad. For, as Robert J. Samuelson observes in this visionary book, our country suffers from a national sense of entitlement - a feeling that someone, whether Big Business or Big Government, should guarantee us secure jobs, rising living standards, social harmony, and personal fulfillment. In The Good Life and Its Discontents, Samuelson, a national columnist for Newsweek and the Washington Post, links our rising expectations with our belief in a post-Cold War vision of an American utopia. Using history, economics, and psychology, he exposes the hubris of economists and corporate managers and indicts a government that promises too much to too many constituencies. Like David Reisman's The Lonely Crowd and John Kenneth Galbraith's The Affluent Society, the result is a book that defines its time - and that is sure to shape the national debate for years to come.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The American dream has mutated into an expectation of security, leaving us suspicious of the government that fails to provide it. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Columnist and economics commentator Samuelson (The Numbskull Factor, Times, 1993) asks why "a society that satisfies us most of the time has also convinced many of us that it's rolling inexorably toward the edge of a cliff." The reason for this "paradox," Samuelson argues, can be tied to the effect of "entitlements" on our lives; we believe we are guaranteed many things-healthcare, secure jobs, and safe living places-but the social and political realities of our lives contradict this. In determining what has turned the American Dream into a "fantasy," Samuelson refers to post-1929 American history, public opinion polls, economic theory and data, the beliefs of our Founding Fathers, corporate structure, and sociological research. He also discusses how civil rights and equality have become confused with each other and how American political leaders have created a huge budget deficit by separating costs from benefits. This is an unusually clear, cogently argued exploration of American values and the political institutions that have strayed from them. Essential for most libraries.-Jack Forman, Mesa Coll. Lib., San Diego

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812925920
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/26/1995
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
6.62(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.11(d)

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