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Welfare as We Knew It: A Political History of the American Welfare State

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Compared to other rich Western democracies, the U.S. does less to help its citizens adapt to the uncertainties of life in a market economy. In Welfare As We Knew It, Charles Noble offers a groundbreaking explanation of why America is so different. Drawing on research in comparative politics, history, and sociology, he demonstrates that deeply-rooted political factors, not Compared to other rich Western democracies, the U.S. does less to help its citizens adapt to the uncertainties of life in a market economy. In Welfare As We Knew It, Charles Noble offers a groundbreaking explanation of why America is so different. Drawing on research in comparative politics, history, and sociology, he demonstrates that deeply-rooted political factors, not public opinion, have limited what reformers have been able to accomplish. Rich historical analysis covering the Wilson administration to the present is followed by a provocative look at future U. S. social policy. Reformers who want government to do more, Noble argues, must refocus their activities on political and institutional change, such as campaign finance and labor-law reform, if they hope to succeed. Taut, comprehensive, and accessible, with a much-needed international perspective, this book will change the way we look at U. S. social policy.


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Compared to other rich Western democracies, the U.S. does less to help its citizens adapt to the uncertainties of life in a market economy. In Welfare As We Knew It, Charles Noble offers a groundbreaking explanation of why America is so different. Drawing on research in comparative politics, history, and sociology, he demonstrates that deeply-rooted political factors, not Compared to other rich Western democracies, the U.S. does less to help its citizens adapt to the uncertainties of life in a market economy. In Welfare As We Knew It, Charles Noble offers a groundbreaking explanation of why America is so different. Drawing on research in comparative politics, history, and sociology, he demonstrates that deeply-rooted political factors, not public opinion, have limited what reformers have been able to accomplish. Rich historical analysis covering the Wilson administration to the present is followed by a provocative look at future U. S. social policy. Reformers who want government to do more, Noble argues, must refocus their activities on political and institutional change, such as campaign finance and labor-law reform, if they hope to succeed. Taut, comprehensive, and accessible, with a much-needed international perspective, this book will change the way we look at U. S. social policy.

18 review for Welfare as We Knew It: A Political History of the American Welfare State

  1. 5 out of 5

    Adam Wiggins

    Poses, and attempts to answer, the question of why there is not a larger welfare state in the United States (as there is in most European countries) despite the fact that public opinion polls consistently show Americans in favor of it. While well-written, this made it not very interesting to me, since it assumes that the welfare state is desirable on grounds of popularity rather than for any reason- or evidence-based argument.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jenifer Norton

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris Osgood

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael Paone

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lyndsey

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  8. 5 out of 5

    Yohannes Jeilu

  9. 5 out of 5

    Phil

  10. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dana And

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kiara

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  14. 4 out of 5

    Garrett Hall

  15. 4 out of 5

    Todd

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sabry

  17. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Bowman

  18. 4 out of 5

    Karl

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