More: The Politics of Economic Growth in Postwar America / Edition 1

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James Carville famously reminded Bill Clinton throughout 1992 that "it's the economy, stupid." Yet, for the last forty years, historians of modern America have ignored the economy to focus on cultural, social, and political themes, from the birth of modern feminism to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now a scholar has stepped forward to place the economy back in its rightful place, at the center of his historical narrative.
In More, Robert M. Collins reexamines the history of the United States from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Bill Clinton, focusing on the federal government's determined pursuit of economic growth. After tracing the emergence of growth as a priority during FDR's presidency, Collins explores the record of successive administrations, highlighting both their success in fostering growth and its partisan uses. Collins reveals that the obsession with growth appears not only as a matter of policy, but as an expression of Cold War ideology--both a means to pay for the arms build-up and proof of the superiority of the United States' market economy. But under Johnson, this enthusiasm sparked a crisis: spending on Vietnam unleashed runaway inflation, while the nation struggled with the moral consequences of its prosperity, reflected in books such as John Kenneth Galbraith's The Affluent Society and Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. More continues up to the end of the 1990s, as Collins explains the real impact of Reagan's policies and astutely assesses Clinton's "disciplined growthmanship," which combined deficit reduction and a relaxed but watchful monetary policy by the Federal Reserve.
Writing with eloquence and analytical clarity, Robert M. Collins offers a startlingly new framework for understanding the history of postwar America.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Americans have not always embraced economic growth, nor has the U.S. economy grown consistently through the 20th century. But overall, Collins's wonderfully illuminating, engrossing analysis illustrates, through the century there was a move toward endorsing increasingly exuberant expansion. Looking at history through the lens of economic growth, Collins puts postwar American society in a whole new perspective. A professor of history at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Collins tells the story of American economic growth as it waxed and waned and waxed again from the New Deal through the Clinton administration. Early on, he argues, many Americans questioned whether growth was possible or even desirable in a mature capitalist economy. WWII, however, set the country's economic engine in motion, and after WWII, "growthmanship" gained speed, reaching an apex in Kennedy and Johnson's "growth liberalism." Economic expansion backslid between 1973 and 1985, as heavy government investment in Vietnam and the Great Society programs led to rapid inflation; price stability took priority. Nixon's "progressive conservativism" unsuccessfully tried to rekindle enthusiasm for robust economic growth by linking it to streamlined government and the moral rejuvenation of America. In the mid-1980s, Reagan's supply-side tactics succeeded in stealing the growth issue from the Democrats, repackaging it and recasting the GOP as the party of economic growth. Only then did Americans seemingly overcome their ambivalence about abundance. More recently, Clinton's eclectic and pragmatic approach to sustaining growth has put limits on it. Brilliantly original, this study demonstrates how different groups--from liberals to Cold Warriors--used economic growth to further their own ends, sometimes with disastrous or unforeseen consequences. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195152630
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,232,559
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert M. Collins is Professor of History at the University of Missouri, Columbia, where he teaches recent U.S. history. He is the author of The Business Response to Keynes, 1929-1964. He lives in Columbia, Missouri.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: The Ambiguity of New Deal Economics 1
1 The Emergence of Economic Growthmanship 17
2 The Ascendancy of Growth Liberalism 40
3 Growth Liberalism Comes a Cropper, 1968 68
4 Richard Nixon's Whig Growthmanship 98
5 The Retreat from Growth in the 1970s 132
6 The Reagan Revolution and Antistatist Growthmanship 166
7 Slow Drilling in Hard Boards 214
Conclusion 233
Notes 241
Index 285
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