American Capitalism Social Thought and Political Economy in the Twentieth Century

ISBN-10: 0812219406
ISBN-13: 9780812219401
Edition: 2006
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Description: At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the legitimacy of American capitalism seems unchallenged. The link between open markets, economic growth, and democratic success has become common wisdom, not only among policy makers but for many  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Publication date: 1/29/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 392
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.298
Language: English

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the legitimacy of American capitalism seems unchallenged. The link between open markets, economic growth, and democratic success has become common wisdom, not only among policy makers but for many intellectuals as well. In this instance, however, the past has hardly been prologue to contemporary confidence in the free market. American Capitalism presents thirteen thought-provoking essays that explain how a variety of individuals, many prominent intellectuals but others partisans in the combative world of business and policy, engaged with anxieties about the seismic economic changes in postwar America and, in the process, reconfigured the early twentieth-century ideology that put critique of economic power and privilege at its center.The essays consider a broad spectrum of figures--from C. L. R. James and John Kenneth Galbraith to Peter Drucker and Ayn Rand--and topics ranging from theories of Cold War "convergence" to the rise of the philanthropic Right. They examine how the shift away from political economy at midcentury paved the way for the 1960s and the "culture wars" that followed. Contributors interrogate what was lost and gained when intellectuals moved their focus from political economy to cultural criticism. The volume thereby offers a blueprint for a dramatic reevaluation of how we should think about the trajectory of American intellectual history in twentieth-century United States.

Nelson Lichtenstein is the MacArthur Foundation Professor of History and director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Introduction: Social Theory and Capitalist Reality in the American Century
Theorizing Twentieth-Century American Capitalism
The Postcapitalist Vision in Twentieth-Century American Social Thought
To Moscow and Back: American Social Scientists and the Concept of Convergence
Liberalism and Its Social Agenda
Clark Kerr: From the Industrial to the Knowledge Economy
John Kenneth Galbraith: Liberalism and the Politics of Cultural Critique
The Prophet of Post-Fordism: Peter Drucker and the Legitimation of the Corporation
A Critique from the Left
C. Wright Mills and American Social Science
C. L. R. James and the Theory of State Capitalism
Oliver C. Cox and the Roots of World Systems Theory
Feminism, Women's History, and American Social Thought at Midcentury
The Rise of the Right
The Road Less Traveled: Reconsidering the Political Writings of Friedrich von Hayek
The Politics of Rich and Rich: Postwar Investigations of Foundations and the Rise of the Philanthropic Right
American Counterrevolutionary: Lemuel Ricketts Boulware and General Electric, 1950-1960
Godless Capitalism: Ayn Rand and the Conservative Movement
Notes
Contributors
Index
Acknowledgments

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