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Sorting Out the Mixed Economy: The Rise and Fall of Welfare and Development States in the Americas

Sorting Out the Mixed Economy: The Rise and Fall of Welfare and Developmental States in the Americas (Princeton University Press, 2019) argues that many of the tools that took apart midcentury welfare and developmental states after 1970 came, ironically enough, from the repertoire of midcentury statebuilding itself. The book takes readers through half a century of US and Colombian history, offering a transnational history of state formation and capitalist reconstruction since 1945. In the process, it shows the influence of Latin American developmentalism on the formation of the US welfare state and reveals the midcentury origins of practices that are regarded today as hallmarks of neoliberalism, including austere systems of social welfare provision, changing systems of state decentralization, and novel forms of for-profit and private delegation. Capitalism in the late twentieth century, the book suggests, was not built in simple reaction against midcentury political economy; it was a parasitic formation that appropriated and redeployed key elements of the very order it destroyed.

Date & Time

Feb. 10, 2020
4:00pm – 5:30pm

Location

6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Sorting Out the Mixed Economy: The Rise and Fall of Welfare and Development States in the Americas

Sorting Out the Mixed Economy: The Rise and Fall of Welfare and Developmental States in the Americas (Princeton University Press, 2019) argues that many of the tools that took apart midcentury welfare and developmental states after 1970 came, ironically enough, from the repertoire of midcentury statebuilding itself.  The book takes readers through half a century of US and Colombian history, offering a transnational history of state formation and capitalist reconstruction since 1945.  In the process, it shows the influence of Latin American developmentalism on the formation of the US welfare state and reveals the midcentury origins of practices that are regarded today as hallmarks of neoliberalism, including austere systems of social welfare provision, changing systems of state decentralization, and novel forms of for-profit and private delegation. Capitalism in the late twentieth century, the book suggests, was not built in simple reaction against midcentury political economy; it was a parasitic formation that appropriated and redeployed key elements of the very order it destroyed.

Amy C. Offner is assistant professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania.  She received her PhD from Columbia University, and her research has been supported by institutions including the ACLS, SSRC, NEH, the Charles Warren Center at Harvard University, the Library of Congress, the Tamiment Library at NYU, and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.  She was asked to list her favorite publications, and laments that they are the same as everyone else's: W. E. B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America (1935); Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967); David Montgomery, The Fall of the House of Labor (1987); and James Ferguson, Expectations of Modernity (1999).

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest and the George Washington University History Department for their support.


Hosted By

History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program uses history to improve understanding of important global dynamics, trends in international relations, and American foreign policy.  Read more

Latin American Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin American Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more

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