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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

3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  67 ratings  ·  10 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 ne...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 22nd 2008 by HarperBusiness (first published May 1st 2007)
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Brian
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...more
steph
Nov 13, 2008 steph rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Ron
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...more
Jon
Jul 31, 2008 Jon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
JP
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
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.
TheSaint
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.
Frank
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:
http://www.heritage.org/research/welf...
Emily
Very interesting--explains how money can shape human beings, for good and also for ill.
Michael Mills
Aug 17, 2009 Michael Mills is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
reading this on my kindle...very good so far (30% done)
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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.” 1 likes
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