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Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
American Society: How It Really Works / Edition 2

American Society: How It Really Works / Edition 2

by Erik Olin Wright, Joel Rogers


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American Society: How It Really Works / Edition 2

The definitive critical introduction to American society.
In American Society: How It Really Works, Erik Olin Wright and Joel Rogers ask several key questions: What kind of society is America? How does it really work and why is it the way it is? In what ways does it need changing, and how can those changes be brought about? To answer these questions, Wright and Rogers identify five core social values that most Americans affirm in one way or another: freedom, prosperity, efficiency, fairness, and democracy. The authors then challenge readers to question to what degree contemporary American society actually lives up to these values and suggest how we might make progress in solving some of the social problems that confront America today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393938852
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 03/15/2015
Edition description: Second Edition
Pages: 592
Sales rank: 522,302
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Erik Olin Wright is arguably the most prominent scholar analyzing the social impact of class in the United States, and his research has mainly involved large-scale quantitative investigations of various themes connected to social inequality. Wright is the author of many books, including Class Counts, Interrogating Inequality, and Classes. He has also organized what he calls the “Real Utopias Project,” which explores a wide range of radical proposals for transforming the core institutions of contemporary society (and is also a series of books for Verso). In addition, he founded the A.E. Havens Center at the University of Wisconsin, whose mission is to foster dialogue between activists and academics and to encourage critical perspectives on contemporary social issues.

Joel Rogers, a MacArthur Foundation "genius" prize-winner and identified by Newsweek as one of the 100 living Americans most likely to shape U.S. politics and culture in the twenty-first century, is professor of law, political science, public affairs, and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The common thread in his academic work is democracy: how to define and measure it, what makes it work, how to make it work better. Rogers spends a lot of time outside the university advising people in politics, government, business, and social movements. He runs the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, which promotes “high road” (i.e., equitable, sustainable, democratic) economic development and governance, and has produced a stream of influential innovations in worker training; business and labor strategy; and local, state, and national policy.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xiii

1 Prologue: Perspectives and Values 1

2 What Kind of Society Is American Society? 10

Part I Capitalism

3 The Capitalist Market: How It Is Supposed to Work 37

4 The Capitalist Market: How It Actually Works 49

5 The Environment 71

6 Transportation 102

7 Consumerism 120

8 Healthcare 142

9 Finance 179

10 Building a High-Road Economy 216

Part II Inequality

11 Thinking about Fairness and Inequality 245

12 Class 257

13 Persistent Poverty and Rising Inequality 267

14 Ending Poverty in America 297

15 Racial Inequality 312

16 Gender Inequality 364

Part III Democracy

17 Democracy: How It Works 405

18 Elections and Voting 421

19 Taxation and the Attack on the Affirmative State 446

20 Corporate Control of the Media 469

21 Militarism and Empire 485

22 Labor Unions 505

23 Democracy from Below 521


24 Possible Futures 543

Credits 555

Index 557

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