Monday, November 9, 2020

Review of Blessed Among Nations: How the World Made America by Eric Rauchway

This review is written by Eugene Kernes

Book can be found in:
Genre = History

Elaborate Description

America seems to have come out of nowhere at the end the WWII wielding global influence and power. Rauchway shows how globalization, other countries influenced the rise of America and its policies. An early history of America thought the lens of globalization, showing many policies which worked at one time but not at other times. Other nations impact on American’s capital, labor, and welfare are the most direct. One of the best examples how America is different can be expressed in the way America leads. Usually, top nations try to spread their institutions elsewhere while America seems unable to have other follow its institutions.

Capital in this book is represented as money inflows, such as investments being made in the country. America seems to always return to investors favored place due to its relative safety among other countries. The investments being made into the country, rather than being directed by the government, were channeled through private institutions. Many of these investments fail, both private and public, and many times the securities were not repaid due to discrimination. Even with all the problems with American securities, they ended up being favored internationally.

Immigrants went to America for the potential higher income raise. Even though unions saw the exploitation of immigrants, the immigrants themselves did not mind because they were already receiving higher wages then they could receive elsewhere. Employers like the immigrant cultural diversity as that weakened unionization efforts. An interesting historical irony is that immigrants used to take jobs away from Americans in America, while now jobs are being send abroad.

Unemployment created by industrial economies normal operations had the impetus to create policies for various relief efforts. As hygiene became a bigger problem due to congestion, many states began spending more money on providing facilities to clean the population. Other states and cities noticed that immigrants who work in their cities could be carrying diseases with them making hygiene policies investments more demanding.

There are a few problems with the book such as the short supply of comparisons made with other countries. The book tries to show how America is different from other countries, but rarely provides how they are different. Usually, it is just American history from an internal perspective and sometimes a minor understanding of how other countries handled the particular national problems differently. Another problem regards the theoretical issue of the book. The author takes a more classical economics framework, mostly that of Marx, but applies neoclassical meanings. This creates some confusion such a using capital as a reference to money and time, which is neoclassical, and applying it to Marx’s theories.

Book Details

Edition ISBN:  9780809055807
Pages to read:   171
Publication:     2006
1st Edition:      2006
Format:            Hardcover

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    5
Content          4
Overall           4