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American Labor and Economic Citizenship : New Capitalism from World War I to the Great Depression

ISBN: 9781107028609 | 1107028604
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Cambridge Univ Pr
Pub. Date: 5/27/2013

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Once viewed as a distinct era characterized by intense bigotry, nostalgia for simpler times, and a revulsion against active government, the 1920s have been rediscovered by historians in recent decades as a time when Herbert Hoover and his allies worked to significantly reform economic policy. In American Labor and Economic Citizenship, Mark Hendrickson both augments and amends this view by studying the origins and development of New Deal Era policy expertise and knowledge. Policy-oriented social scientists in government, trade union, academic, and nonprofit agencies showed how methods for achieving stable economic growth through increased productivity could both defang the dreaded business cycle and defuse the pattern of hostile class relations that Gilded Age depressions had helped to set as an American system of industrial relations. Linked by emerging institutions such as the Social Science Research Council, the National Urban League, and the Women's Bureau, social investigators attacked rampant sexual and racial discrimination, often justified by fallacious biological arguments, that denied female and minority workers full economic citizenship in the workplace and the polity. These scholars demonstrated that these practices not only limited productivity and undercut expanded consumption, but also belied the claims for fairness that must buttress policy visions in a democracy.


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