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Land of Promise : An Economic History of the United States
by Michael Lind

Overview -

From one of America's leading intellectuals comes a sweeping and original work of economic history, recounting the epic story of America's rise to become the world's dominant economy.

In Land of Promise, bestselling author Michael Lind provides a groundbreaking account of how a weak collection of former British colonies became an industrial, financial, and military colossus.  Read more...


 
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More About Land of Promise by Michael Lind
 
 
 
Overview

From one of America's leading intellectuals comes a sweeping and original work of economic history, recounting the epic story of America's rise to become the world's dominant economy.

In Land of Promise, bestselling author Michael Lind provides a groundbreaking account of how a weak collection of former British colonies became an industrial, financial, and military colossus. From the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries, the American economy has been transformed by wave after wave of emerging technology: the steam engine, electricity, the internal combustion engine, computer technology. Yet technology-driven change leads to growing misalignment between an innovative economy and anachronistic legal and political structures until the gap is closed by the modernization of America's institutions--often amid upheavals such as the Civil War and Reconstruction and the Great Depression and World War II.

Against the dramatic backdrop of shattering tides of change, Land of Promise portrays the struggles and achievements of inventors like Thomas Edison and Samuel Morse; entrepreneurs like Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs; financiers like J. P. Morgan; visionary political leaders like Henry Clay and Franklin Roosevelt; and dynamic policy makers like Alexander Hamilton and Vannevar Bush. Larger-than-life figures such as these share the stage with the ordinary Americans who built a superpower, from midwestern farmers, southern slaves, and the immigrants who created canals and railroads to the sisters of Rosie the Riveter, whose labor in factories during World War II helped to end Hitler's dream of world domination.

When the U.S. economy has flourished, Lind argues, government and business, labor and universities, have worked together as partners in a never-ending project of economic nation building. As the United States struggles to emerge from the Great Recession, Land of Promise demonstrates that Americans, since the earliest days of the republic, have reinvented the American economy--and have the power to do so again.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780061834806
  • ISBN-10: 0061834807
  • Publisher: HarperTorch
  • Publish Date: April 2012
  • Page Count: 592


Related Categories

Books > History > United States - General
Books > Business & Economics > Economic History

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-01-09
  • Reviewer: Staff

Lind (Vietnam: The Necessary War) delivers a conventional story of America’s technological transformation in parallel with an imaginative account of the 200-year tug-of-war between Alexander Hamilton’s and Thomas Jefferson’s economic philosophies. Lind, cofounder of the New America Foundation, prefers Hamilton’s vision of an activist central government that, he argues, produces economic growth. But that theory enjoyed only spotty success after 1800 and none after Andrew Jackson rejected it. It revived with Lincoln’s support of railroads, national banking, and a tariff-based import system. Jeffersonian laissez-faire returned, but, the author points out, even the Jeffersonians supported government intervention in favor of small businesses. Lind hails the New Deal era from FDR through Nixon as a Hamiltonian triumph during which the economy mushroomed, middle-class mass consumerism appeared, and poverty plummeted. Carter and Reagan began the Jeffersonian reaction: antigovernment rhetoric accompanied by deregulation. Instead of a flourishing free market, says Lind, the result has been not productive industry but wage stagnation, crumbling infrastructure, and a sluggish economy driven by boom-and-bust speculation and rising debt. The coda offers a prescription for how the next Hamiltonian cycle should fix matters, but asserts that Jeffersonianism rules today. Lind paints a vivid if dismal picture. (Apr.)

 
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