Illusions of Prosperity: America's Working Families in an Age of Economic Insecurity / Edition 1

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In Illusions of Prosperity, Blau launches a far-reaching assault on the idea that "the market" knows best. Blau writes that while the share of the national income held by the bottom four-fifths of the population (the poor and broad middle class combined) has continued to decline, the top fifth gained 97 percent of the increase in total household income between 1979 and 1994. Blau looks at recent reforms in NAFTA, education, job training, welfare, and much more, showing that the new social policies have made matters worse, because reforms that rely on the market can't compensate for the market's deficiencies. Instead, he calls for a stronger, more caring government to counter the debilitating effects of the market, and he urges the development of the broadest possible political alliances to ensure economic security.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Blau's uneven polemic asserts that the current "market" approach to social ills helps only the top 20 percent of society while the rest suffer. He proposes increased federal government intervention as the solution, championing national healthcare, vastly expanded day care, stronger unions, and worker participation. Blau social work, SUNY at Stony Brook, who looks at America through a Western European Socialist lens, feels that as long as business controls hiring and investments, education will not help most Americans. He acknowledges that his views are not in the majority but notes correctly that the pendulum could swing. Liberals may like his ideas; conservatives will cringe. Both will find this a tedious, occasionally condescending read--a lonely call for a return to big-government liberalism that most libraries will find more effectively argued in periodicals like the New Republic or the Nation. Neither lively enough to be called a screed nor convincing enough to be recommended.--Patrick J. Brunet, Western Wisconsin Technical Coll. Lib., La Crosse Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195146066
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Joel Blau is an Associate Professor, and Director of the Ph.D. Program, at the School of Social Welfare, State University of New York, Stony Brook. He is the author of The Visible Poor: Homelessness in the United States. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Table of Contents

Pt. I The Turn to the Market 1
1 The Triumph of the Market 3
2 Business Moves: Markets, Nations, and Inequality 22
3 Disposable Workers 43
4 The Low-Wage, Low-Skill Strategy 63
Pt. II The Path Upward? 79
5 Education: Choice, Profit, and Democracy 81
6 Jobs and Job Training: The Field of Dreams 113
7 Poverty and Welfare: Market as Cure or Market as Cause? 135
Pt. III Both Workers and Citizens: The Route to Economic Security 161
8 Democracy in the Workplace? 163
9 The Government: From Client to Customer to Citizen 179
10 The Next Deal 200
Notes 223
Index 263
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