The Conscience of a Liberal

The Conscience of a Liberal

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by Jason Culp
     
 

America emerged from Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal with strong democratic values and broadly shared prosperity. But for the past thirty years American politics has been dominated by a conservative movement determined to undermine the New Deal’s achievements.

Now, the tide may be turning–and in The Conscience of a Liberal Paul Krugman, the

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Overview

America emerged from Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal with strong democratic values and broadly shared prosperity. But for the past thirty years American politics has been dominated by a conservative movement determined to undermine the New Deal’s achievements.

Now, the tide may be turning–and in The Conscience of a Liberal Paul Krugman, the world’s most widely read economist and one of its most influential political commentators, charts the way to reform.

Krugman ranges over a century of history and shows that neither the American middle-class nor the baby boomers grew up in the increasingly oligarchic nation we have become over the past generation evolved naturally: both were created, to a large extent, by government policies guided by organized political movements.

The Conscience of a Liberal
promises to reshape public debate about American social policy and become a touchstone work for an entire generation.

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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:
9780739358665
Publisher:
Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/02/2007
Edition description:
Abridged, 5 CDs, 6 hours
Product dimensions:
5.09(w) x 5.94(h) x 1.08(d)

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