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  • The End of American Exceptionalism: The Social Question in the United States

    Fred Block

    Chapter from the book: Breman, J et al. 2019. The Social Question in the Twenty-First Century: A Global View.


    This chapter argues that some of the elements that made U.S. political and social development exceptional have disappeared over the last half century. The result has been the eruption of deep social conflicts and intense political polarization, culminating in the election of Donald Trump as President in 2016. The chapter traces the polarization back to the right turn in U.S. politics and policy that occurred in the 1980’s under Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s policies were supposed to generate faster economic growth, but they produced instead greater inequality and diminished social mobility. The resulting discontents intersect with longstanding divides around race, immigration, gender, and religion to produce intractable conflicts.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Block, F. 2019. The End of American Exceptionalism: The Social Question in the United States. In: Breman, J et al (eds.), The Social Question in the Twenty-First Century. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.74.d

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    Published on July 30, 2019