After Progress: American Social Reform and European Socialism in the Twentieth Century

Paperback | July 15, 2002

byNorman Birnbaum

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The twentieth century witnessed a profound shift in both socialism and social reform. In the early 1900s, social reform seemed to offer a veritable religion of redemption, but by the century's end, while socialism remained a vibrant force in European society, a culture of extreme individualismand consumption all but squeezed the welfare state out of existence. Documenting this historic change, After Progress: European Socialism and American Social Reform in the 20th Century is the first truly comprehensive look at the course of social reform and Western politics after Communism,brilliantly explained by a major social thinker of our time. Norman Birnbaum traces in fascinating detail the forces that have shifted social concern over the course of a century, from the devastation of two world wars, to the post-war golden age of economic growth and democracy, to the ever-increasing dominance of the market. He makes sense of thehistorical trends that have created a climate in which politicians proclaim the arrival of a new historical epoch but rarely offer solutions to social problems that get beyond cost-benefit analyses. Birnbaum goes one step further and proposes a strategy for bringing the market back into balance withthe social needs of the people. He advocates a reconsideration of the notion of work, urges that market forces be brought under political control, and stresses the need for education that teaches the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Both a sweeping historical survey and a sharp-edged commentary on current political posturing, After Progress examines the state of social reform past, present and future.

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The twentieth century witnessed a profound shift in both socialism and social reform. In the early 1900s, social reform seemed to offer a veritable religion of redemption, but by the century's end, while socialism remained a vibrant force in European society, a culture of extreme individualismand consumption all but squeezed the welfar...

Norman Birnbaum is University Professor at Georgetown University Law School and the author of The Crisis of Industrial Society and Toward a Critical Sociology (both from OUP). A founding editor of New Left Review, he has served on the board of Partisan Review and The Nation . He lives in Washington, D.C.

other books by Norman Birnbaum

Format:PaperbackDimensions:448 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.68 inPublished:July 15, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195158598

ISBN - 13:9780195158595

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"Superb...presents the key events and players in left movements of the twentieth century in a way that helps us understand their importance.... An elegantly written and thoroughly researched work that goes well beyond the standard left-wing narrative of rapacious capitalists and heroicorganizing drives."--Ruy Teixeira, The American Prospect