In this fascinating new history, Judith Stein argues that in order to understand our current economic crisis, we need to look back to the 1970s and the end of the age of the factory - the era of postwar liberalism, created by the New Deal, whose practices, high wages, and regulated capital produced both robust economic growth and greater income equality.
When high oil prices and economic competition from Japan and Germany battered the American economy, new policies, both international and domestic, became necessary. But war was waged against inflation, rather than against unemployment, and the government promoted a balanced budget instead of growth. This, says Stein, marked the beginning of the age of finance and subsequent deregulation, free trade, low taxation, and weak unions that has fostered inequality and now the worst recession in 60 years.
Drawing on extensive archival research and covering the economic, intellectual, political, and labor history of the decade, Stein provides a wealth of information on the 1970s. She also shows that to restore prosperity today, America needs a new model: more factories and fewer financial houses.
"Here is one of those rare books in which a seasoned historian offers compelling analyses of urgent contemporary importance. Pivotal Decade will startle and provoke you. It is on my not-miss list." (Sean Wilentz, Professor of History, Princeton University)
"Judith Stein gets it. Pivotal Decade's illustration and examination of the last forty years of failed economic policy will be a powerful text for our generation as well as for the future. We must learn these lessons once and for all - before it's too late." (Leo W. Gerard, President, United Steelworkers)
"[A] highly original illumination of how the American Century collapsed." (Rick Perlstein, The Nation)
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