“Les Anglo-Saxons”: The United States

Norman Birnbaum

in After Progress

Published in print July 2002 | ISBN: 9780195158595
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849352 | DOI:
“Les Anglo-Saxons”: The United States

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In no other industrial democracy are inequalities in income and wealth as pronounced as they are in the United States. At the same time, the United States is a democracy of manners. Traditions of disrespect for authority and convention, of systematic idiosyncrasy, live on. American proprietorship of the Cold War reinvented a national ideology of mission in the service of global hegemony. This was made possible by the postwar American social contract and the consensus that contract engendered. The contract, continuing the wartime program of relatively full employment, produced an occasionally uneasy social truce. The social contract rested on a continuous increase in national productivity and a concomitant rise in the standard of living for a majority of the populace. In the first twenty-five years of the postwar period, the unchallenged supremacy of the American economy was reinforced by the role of the dollar as a reserve currency.

Keywords: United States; democracy; income; wealth; social contract; economy; national productivity; standard of living; dollar

Chapter.  14005 words. 

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