The Great Risk Shift: The New Economic Insecurity and the Decline of the American Dream, Second Edition (2nd edition)

ISBN : 9780190844141

Jacob Hacker
288 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Oct 2018
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  • Lays bare America's unsettling new economic climate, showing how it has come about, what it is doing to our families, and how we can fight back
  • Documents how two great pillars of economic security - the family and the workplace - guarantee far less financial stability than they once did
  • Offers a blend of powerful human stories, big-picture analysis, and compelling ideas for reform
  • Serves as a rallying point in the vital struggle for economic security in an increasingly uncertain world

On the eve of the financial crisis, Jacob S. Hacker wrote "the policy book of the year" (E.J. Dionne, Jr., Washington Post), demonstrating and explaining the hidden story of growing economic insecurity. In this fully revised and updated second edition, he brings his powerful exposé of "The Great Risk Shift" up to date with startling new evidence and compelling new ideas. Hacker shows that the safety net was unraveling long before the late-2000s, as more and more economic risk shifted from the broad shoulders of government and business onto the fragile backs of American families. Whether the problem is risky jobs brought on by corporate restructuring and the "gig economy" of contingent work, risky families created by the rising costs and instabilities of parenthood, risky retirement caused by the collapse of traditional guaranteed pensions, or risky health care fueled by skyrocketing costs and unstable coverage-Hacker shows what has changed and why, the ways in which ordinary Americans have been affected, and how we can fight back. Behind the risk shift, he contends, is the "Personal Responsibility Crusade" eagerly embraced by corporate leaders and conservative politicians who speak of an economic nirvana in which Americans are free to choose. But the result, Hacker reveals, has been very different: a harsh new world of economic insecurity in which far too many Americans are allowed to fall behind. Blending powerful human stories, big-picture analysis, and compelling ideas for reform, this remarkable volume has become a rallying point in the struggle for economic security in an increasingly uncertain world.


Introduction: On the Edge
1. The New Economic Insecurity
2. Risking It All
3. Risky Jobs
4. Risky Families
5. Risky Retirement
6. Risky Health Care
Conclusion: Securing the Future

About the author: 

Jacob Hacker, Professor of Political Science, Yale University
Jacob S. Hacker is Professor of Political Science at Yale University and Fellow at the New America Foundation. He is author of The Divided Welfare State and The Road to Nowhere and, and most recently, co-author of Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy. A frequent commentator on NPR, PBS, and CNN, Hacker has written for The New Republic, The Nation, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and other publications.

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