The Free-Market Family: How the Market Crushed the American Dream (and How It Can Be Restored)

The Free-Market Family: How the Market Crushed the American Dream (and How It Can Be Restored)

by Maxine Eichner

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Overview

The Free-Market Family argues for correcting course and using policy to promote family wellbeing in a market-driven America.

US families have been pushed to the wall. At the bottom of the economic ladder, poor and working-class adults aren't forming stable relationships and can't give their kids the start they need because of low wages and uncertain job prospects. Toward the top, professional parents' lives have become a grinding slog of long hours of paid work. Meanwhile their kids are overstressed by pressure to succeed and get into good colleges. In this provocative book, Maxine Eichner argues that these very different struggles might seem unconnected, but they share the same root cause: the increasingly large toll that economic inequality and insecurity are taking on families.

It's government rather than families that's to blame, Eichner persuasively contends. Since the 1970s, politicians have sold families out to the wrongheaded notion that the free market alone best supports them. In five decades of "free-market family policy," they've scrapped government programs and gutted market regulations that had helped families thrive. The consequence is the steady drumbeat of bad news we hear about our country today: the opioid epidemic, skyrocketing suicide and mental illness rates, "deaths of despair," and mediocre student achievement scores. Meanwhile, politicians just keep telling families to work a little harder.

The Free-Market Family documents US families' impossible plight, showing how much worse they fare than families in other countries. It then demonstrates how politicians' free-market illusions steered our nation wildly off course. Finally, it shows how, using commonsense measures, we can restructure the economy to work for families, rather than the reverse. Doing so would invest in our children's futures, increase our wellbeing, reknit our social fabric, and allow our country to reclaim the American Dream.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780197582114
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 06/01/2021
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 8.80(w) x 5.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Maxine Eichner Eichner is the Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor of Law at the University Of North Carolina School Of Law. She is the author of The Supportive State: Families, Government, and America's Political Ideals.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
PART I. THE EMBATTLED AMERICAN FAMILY
1. What Went Wrong with the American Dream?
2. America's Free-Market Family Policy
3. The Overworked American Parent
4. The Economics of Disconnected Adults and Unstable Families
5. How We Fail Our Children: Part I-The Caretaking Young Children Need
6. How We Fail Our Children: Part II-Young Children from Poor and Low-Income Families
7. Outcomes for Children in the Free-Market Family System
PART II. THE ROAD TO FREE-MARKET FAMILY POLICY
8. Insulating Families from Market Forces-The Rise of the Welfare State
9. The Death of the Welfare State and the Rise of Free-Market Family Policy
PART III. REVIVING THE AMERICAN DREAM
10. What's an Economy For?
11. Toward Thriving Families
Notes
References
Index

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