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The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth

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eBook published by Vintage (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
From the author of Day of Reckoning, the acclaimed critique of Ronald Reagan’s economic policy (“Every citizen should read it,” said The New York Times): a persuasive, wide-ranging argument that economic growth provides far more than material benefits. In clear-cut prose, Benjamin M. Friedman examines the political and social histories of the large Western democracies–particularly of the United States since the Civil War–to demonstrate the fact that incomes on the rise lead to more open and democratic societies. He explains that growth, rather than simply a high standard of living, is key to effecting political and social liberalization in the third world, and shows that even the wealthiest of nations puts its democratic values at risk when income levels stand still. Merely being rich is no protection against a turn toward rigidity and intolerance when a country’s citizens lose the sense that they are getting ahead.With concrete policy suggestions for pursuing growth at home and promoting worldwide economic expansion, this volume is a major contribution to the ongoing debate about the effects of economic growth and globalization.
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From the author of Day of Reckoning, the acclaimed critique of Ronald Reagan’s economic policy (“Every citizen should read it,” said The New York Times): a persuasive, wide-ranging argument that economic growth provides far more than material benefits. In clear-cut prose, Benjamin M. Friedman examines the political and social histories of the large Western democracies–particularly of the United States since the Civil War–to demonstrate the fact that incomes on the rise lead to more open and democratic societies. He explains that growth, rather than simply a high standard of living, is key to effecting political and social liberalization in the third world, and shows that even the wealthiest of nations puts its democratic values at risk when income levels stand still. Merely being rich is no protection against a turn toward rigidity and intolerance when a country’s citizens lose the sense that they are getting ahead.With concrete policy suggestions for pursuing growth at home and promoting worldwide economic expansion, this volume is a major contribution to the ongoing debate about the effects of economic growth and globalization.
Product Details
eBook (592 pages)
Published: November 3, 2010
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307773456
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    The two papers that make up the core of this book address what is perhaps the most fundamental question in the current debate over Social Security: whether to shift, in part or even entirely, from today's pay-as-you-go system to one that is not just funded but also privatized in the sense that individuals would retain control over the investment of their funds and, therefore, personally bear the associated risk. John Shoven argues yes, Henry Aaron no. Theoretical issues such as the likely effects on saving behavior and capital formation figure importantly in this discussion. But so do a broad array of practical considerations such as the expense of fund management and accounting, questions about how the public would regard the fairness of any new system, and the impact of recent developments in the federal budget and the U.S. stock market.The book also includes responses to both papers by four prominent economists--Robert J. Barro and David M. Cutler, of Harvard University; Alicia H. Munnell, of Boston College; and James Tobin, of Yale University--as well as Henry Aaron's and John Shoven's replies. The introductory remarks are by Benjamin M. Friedman.

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