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The Age of Abundance: How Prosperity Transformed America's Politics and Culture
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The Age of Abundance: How Prosperity Transformed America's Politics and Culture

3.49  ·  Rating Details ·  115 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews

Until the 1950s, the struggle to feed, clothe, and employ the nation drove most of American political life. From slavery to the New Deal, political parties organized around economic interests and engaged in fervent debate over the best allocation of agonizingly scarce resources. But with the explosion of the nation's economy in the years after World War II, a new set of n

Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 22nd 2008 by HarperBusiness (first published May 1st 2007)
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Lucian McMahon
You shouldn't judge a book by its cover, I know, but I wish the editors hadn't made a serious intellectual book look like some dollar-store right-wing trash a la Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly. The diamond-studded American flag really is too much.

Overall, an interesting and well-written analysis. His cautiously optimistic predictions for the future now seem quaint, writing as he does seven years ago and just before the big 2008 crash. Which makes the lost seven years seem even harder to accept, gi
Jun 22, 2009 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just a fabulous, fabulous book. The main thesis is that the same prosperity that freedom has brought enables both the left and the right to seek to eliminate freedom.

Money quote: "As a result, Americans of predominantly liberal disposition—which, these days, means the majority who are comfortable with the prevailing libertarian synthesis—are left to choose which illiberal bedfellows they dislike least. Those who are most repelled by the left’s collectivism and antipathy to middle-class values dr
I appreciated this more than any account I've yet read by a self-described libertarian. The overall narrative of the idea that we've lived in an unprecedented "age of abundance" since end of WWII, the foundations of which were laid by the industrial capitalist developments since the late 1800s, was well justified; and that the innate developments of that abundance very naturally lead to the countercultural left movement he describes as "Aquarian" (after the sixties leftist enthusiasm for the "Ag ...more
May 27, 2008 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fledgling libertarians, cultural historians
A great narrative charting the expansion of American society from scarcity to abundance, and how that affected the culture (and in turn their politics).

The Libertarian Synthesis is an interesting concept the author touches on that I find fascinating. That the actions and reactions spawned by 60's, which split the country into 2 sides (Aquarians and Evangelicals) brought about 2 arguments that just don't quite hold it all together, with conflicting half-truths. And now, after a back-and-forth an
Jacob Stubbs
Nov 28, 2011 Jacob Stubbs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a Christian, I have to disagree with Lindsey on certain points, but he does offer a very interesting view of religion in this book. One of my main problems with Christianity has been the cheap self-help, "Gospel of Poor Richard's Almanac" that has purveyed the common evangelical culture today. This, in my opinion, is not a good thing, while Lindsey believes that it is because it makes people more productive.

Other than religion, Lindsey seems to be a good commentator on the various rises of po
Sep 07, 2008 steph rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to steph by: jon stewart's daily show
Shelves: regular-politics
really interesting insights into the age of convenience, and even some about the beginnings of feminism. didn't really convince me that 'prosperity' changed our politics and culture. but did prove how abundance and convenience led to increase in the suburbanization of america.
i feel that americans have always been about bigger-better-more, and the industrial age offered us opportunities to take our consumerism to new levels of irrationality. it pushed us as a society that understood the patienc
Jul 14, 2008 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a thought-provoking re-telling of late Twentieth Century history from a libertarian perspective. So much of the modern welfare state is based on kind of mythic-history poverty-exigency that looking candidly at our current state of affairs (e.g. the biggest health problem facing the poor in America today is obesity) undercuts many left-wing political assumptions and has a liberating feel.

The author sees a quiet libertarian revolution in the second half of the Twentieth Century and this is
Mar 03, 2014 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the first time in human history, the majority of people in our civilization don't have be concerned with starving to death on a regular basis. How does that affect our society? That's the basic premise here. I expected more analysis of our current day situation, but it's more of a history book.

Brink takes potshots at everyone throughout the book, and it's fantastic. He decries the hippies because they only get the chance to self-actualize because someone before them did the hard work produc
Aug 23, 2010 Jon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2010
Quite a challenge to push through this one and not sure I'm going to remember much of this book as I spent most of time asking myself, "what did he just say?". Although there were many salient points offered by the author as he drew a number of interesting parallels and was rather pragmatic, I don't like it when I'm spending an inordinate amount of time having to look up never heard words in the dictionary because an author wants to show he's really researched his material and therefore show his ...more
May 18, 2013 JP rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brink Lindsey exposes the broad cultural impact of our world's recent shift from subsistence to abundance. Members of developed economies are now able to pursue fulfillment instead of food, and to struggle with sources of angst that would be considered ridiculous by any previous generation. The Aquarian counter-culture of the 60's and 70's was only possible in the context of the new abundance. Downstream effects persist today, some the opposite of what the reactionaries ever intended. Overall, o ...more
Dec 08, 2009 Frank rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Perfect timing for this one--right before the great crash of 2008. No wonder folks like Heritage's Robert Rector are so quick to say there is no hunger crisis in the us:
Spike Dunn
A libertarian reading of American economic history. Like any Insert-Descriptor-Here reading of history, it suffers from overindulging in its preconceptions, but I think it gets some things spot on. And it's fairly centrist libertarian not crazy panarchist libertarian like some myselfs I know.
Dec 02, 2008 TheSaint rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, adult
Finally finished this. I guess what I was expecting was a hot-tempered jeremiad against first world greed and economic Darwinism. Lindsey, though, gave me a history of the past 100 or so years. Good, even insightful, but I guess I was in the mood for a screed.
Jan 05, 2014 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I too found this book somewhat difficult to read. I did not feel that the overall purpose of the book was made clear enough. Much of the context gets lost within the ramblings of the author.
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“American capitalism is derided for its superficial banality, yet it has unleashed profound, convulsive social change. Condemned as mindless materialism, it has burst loose a flood tide of spiritual yearning. The civil rights movement and the sexual revolution, environmentalism and feminism, the fitness and health-care boom and the opening of the gay closet, the withering of censorship and the rise of a “creative class” of “knowledge workers” – all are the progeny of widespread prosperity.” 2 likes
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