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Political journalist Michael Tomasky tracks an exciting change among progressive economists who are overturning decades of conservative dogma and offering an alternative version of capitalism that can serve broadly shared prosperity to all.
In the first half of the twentieth century the Keynesian brand of economics, which saw government spending as a necessary spur to economic growth, prevailed. Then in the 1970s, conservatives fought back. Once they got people to believe a few simple ideas instead—that only the free market could produce growth, that taxes and regulation stifle growth—the battle was won. The era of conservative dogma, often called neoliberal economics, had begun. It ushered in increasing inequality, a shrinking middle class, and declining public investment. For fifty years, liberals have not been able to make a dent in it. Until now.
In The Middle Out, journalist Michael Tomasky narrates this history and reports on the work of today's progressive economists, who are using mountains of historical evidence to contradict neoliberal claims. Their research reveals conservative dogma to be unfounded and shows how concentrated wealth has been built on the exploitation of women, minorities, and the politically powerless. Middle-out economics, in contrast, is the belief that prosperity comes from a thriving middle class, and therefore government plays a role in supporting families and communities. This version of capitalism--more just, more equal, and in which prosperity is shared--could be the American future.