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A Perilous Progress:
Economists and Public Purpose in Twentieth-Century America
Michael A. Bernstein

Book Description | Table of Contents
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"Michael Bernstein reveals the ironic development of modern economics. On the one hand, he explains how American economists have depended on the growth of democratic government coping with the instability of the twentieth century. On the other hand, he shows how they have denied the social setting of economic problems, and of the origins of their profession. In the process, Bernstein gives us the best history we have of the economics profession in the United States."--W. Elliot Brownlee, University of California, Santa Barbara

"A Perilous Progress explains the curious trajectory of the discipline in economics: as it gained a commanding place in American public and political life, its growing power led to its intellectual constriction and, in the end, to declining prospects for its power and influence. By examining the discipline most critical to the modern American political economy, Michael Bernstein freshly recasts the history of modern America itself."--Michael Sherry, Northwestern University, author of In the Shadow of War: The United States Since the 1930s

"Professor Bernstein has written brilliantly on a subject central to the history of politics and political economy in America. The author has found a stunning amount of important and previously unexploited material in archival sources. He analyzes that material in light of the public record in a sure-handed way, reflecting his command of economic theory as well as his mastery of the historical literature. The book gives new substance and depth to our understanding of several major interrelated themes in twentieth century American history, but it also offers new insights into the more general history of economics as that discipline has been mobilized--for good or otherwise--in modern public policy processes."--Harry N. Scheiber, University of California at Berkeley

"A stunning book. Reading it, one appreciates the clarity of the narrative drive and the deftness with which many and various themes are pulled together. Historians of economic science have looked at the bits and pieces of information that Bernstein utilizes, and have like the blind man and the elephant found imperfect and partial papers to write. A Perilous Progress interweaves an intellectual history, a social history of the profession, and a political history of the interconnections of economists with public affairs. It will define, for the next several decades, what economics (at least in America) can be taken to have meant."--E. Roy Weintraub, Duke University

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File created: 4/17/2014

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