Wednesday, January 11, 2012

land of promise: an economic history of the united states, by michael lind

That's his newest book, due out in April, 2012. Lind asserts that contemporary debates over American economic policy have their roots in early 19th century debates over how internal improvements and manufactures should be promoted by the government. In one camp you had the more conservative view (advanced by people like Hamilton) that states should be heavily involved in the promotion of industry, and on the other, you had the "radical democratic" idea that the state should simply focus on providing a stable framework in which entrepreneurs could seek out private gain.

It might surprise some to find out that the radical libertarian philosophy did not experience a clear win in this debate. Consistently since its founding, the American state has been heavily involved in the promotion -- and even subsidization -- of American growth. Lind's work may be a way to revive these ideas again at a time in which the Keynesian notion of "Aggregate Demand Management" seems to define the limits of state interventionism -- in order to show how strikingly conservative this version of the "Keynesian" view actually is.

Here is the book's description from Amazon:
A sweeping and original work of economic history by Michael Lind, one of America’s leading intellectuals, Land of Promise recounts the epic story of America’s rise to become the world’s dominant economy. As ideological free marketers continue to square off against Keynesians in Congress and the press, economic policy remains at the center of political debate. Land of Promise offers a much-needed historical framework that sheds new light on our past—wisdom that offers lessons essential to our future. Building upon the strength and lucidity of his New York Times Notable Books The Next American Nation and Hamilton’s Republic, Lind delivers a necessary and revelatory examination of the roots of American prosperity—insight that will prove invaluable to anyone interested in exploring how we can move forward.

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