The Unsustainable American State

Paperback | October 9, 2009

EditorLawrence Jacobs, Desmond King

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The complexity of the American economy and polity has grown at an explosive rate in our era of globalization. Yet as the 2008 financial crisis revealed, the evolution of the American state has not proceeded apace. The crisis exposed the system's manifold political and economicdysfunctionalities. Featuring a cast of leading scholars working at the intersection of political science and American history, The Unsustainable American State is a historically informed account of the American state's development from the nineteenth century to the present. It focuses in particular on thestate-produced inequalities and administrative incoherence that became so apparent in the post-1970s era. Collectively, the book offers an unsettling account of the growth of racial and economic inequality, the ossification of the state, the gradual erosion of democracy, and the problems derivingfrom imperial overreach. Utilizing the framework of sustainability, a concept that is currently informing some of the best work on governance and development, the contributors show how the USA's current trajectory does not imply an impending collapse, but rather a gradual erosion of capacity andlegitimacy. That is a more appropriate theoretical framework, they contend, because for all of its manifest flaws, the American state is durable. That durability, however, does not preclude a long relative decline.

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The complexity of the American economy and polity has grown at an explosive rate in our era of globalization. Yet as the 2008 financial crisis revealed, the evolution of the American state has not proceeded apace. The crisis exposed the system's manifold political and economicdysfunctionalities. Featuring a cast of leading scholars wo...

Lawrence Jacobs is the Walter F. and Joan Mondale Chair for Political Studies and director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. He also is a professor in the University of Minnesota's Department of Political Science. Desmond King is the Andrew Mellon Professor of...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:360 pages, 5.91 × 9.21 × 0.91 inPublished:October 9, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195392140

ISBN - 13:9780195392142

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsList of ContributorsPart 1. The Strains of Governance1. Lawrence Jacobs and Desmond King: The Political Crisis of the American State: The Unsustainable State in a Time of Unraveling2. John Ferejohn: Is Inequality a Threat to Democracy?Part 2. From Nineteenth CenturyLegacies to Twentieth Century Orthodoxy3. Gary Gerstle: The Resilient Power of the States Across the Long Nineteenth Century: An Inquiry into a Pattern of American Governance4. Kimberley S Johnson: The First New Federalism and the Development of the Modern American State: Patchwork, Reconstitution or Transition?5. Desmond King and Marc Stears: The Missing State in Postwar American Political ThoughtPart 3. The Modern American State6. Benjamin Page and Lawrence Jacobs: No Class War: Economic Inequality and the American Public7. Larry Bartels: Economic Inequality and Political Representation8. Suzanne Mettler: Promoting Inequality: The Politics of Higher Education Policy in an Era of Conservative Governance9. Lee Ann Banaszak: Moving Feminist Activists Inside the American State: The Rise of a State Movement Intersection and its Effects on State Policy10. Cathy J. Cohen: From Kanye West to Barack Obama: Black Youth, the State and Political AlienationPart 4. The Inherited State Moving Forward11. Desmond King and Robert Lieberman: American State Building: The Theoretical Challenge12. Liz Cohen: A Historian's Reflection on the Unsustainable American State13. Stephen Skowronek: Taking Stock