This book is a guide to claims about the proper role of government and markets in a global economy. Moving between systematic comparison of nineteen rich democracies and debate about what the United States can do to restore a more civilized, egalitarian and fair society, Harold L. Wilensky tells us how six of these countries got on a low road to economic progress and which components of their labor-crunch strategy are uniquely American. He provides an overview of the impact of major dimensions of globalization, only one of which - the interaction of the internationalization of finance and the rapid increase in the autonomy of central banks - undermines either national sovereignty or job security, labor standards, and the welfare state. Although Wilensky views American policy and politics through the lens of globalization, he concludes that the nation-state remains the center of personal identity, social solidarity and political action.
Harold L. Wilensky is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been twice a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He is the author of 75 articles and 13 previous books, including Industrial Society and Social Welfare (1958, 1965), Organizational Intelligence: Knowledge and Policy in Government and Industry (1967, 1969), The Welfare State and Equality (1975) and Rich Democracies (2002). Before joining the University of California in 1963, he taught at the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago.
Part I. Globalization, Public Policy, and the Wellbeing of People: 1. The welfare state as the center of public finance and political conflict; 2. Energy policy and performance: US and the world; 3. What tradeoffs are good and bad for the economy?: domestic structures and policies that permit adaptation to globalization; 4. Retrenchment of the welfare state?: the fate of 'cutback budgeting' in Italy, France, Germany, the US, UK and New Zealand; 5. Pensions coverage: US health care remains unique; 6. The impact of 'globalization': an overview; Part II. Moving the US. off the Low Road: Lessons from Abroad: 7. Low road versus high road: American exceptionalism; 8. Policy implications for the United States: how to get off the low road.
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