Culture, Capitalism, and Democracy in the New America by Richard Harvey Brown

By Richard Harvey Brown

The usa is in transit from an commercial to a postindustrial society, from a contemporary to postmodern tradition, and from a countrywide to an international financial system. during this ebook Richard Harvey Brown asks how we will distinguish the uniquely American components of those alterations from extra worldwide impacts. His resolution specializes in the ways that monetary imperatives supply form to the moving adventure of being American. Drawing on a large wisdom of yank heritage and literature, the most recent social technology, and modern social concerns, Brown investigates continuity and alter in American race kinfolk, politics, faith, notion of selfhood, households, and the humanities. He paints a bright photograph of up to date the United States, displaying how postmodernism is perceived and felt via members and focusing recognition at the strengths and boundaries of yankee democracy.

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Elite groups, who most determine the nature and content of the law, make a selective use of decentralization. They justify it in terms of general values such as democracy or local autonomy while using it to protect particular interests such as avoidance of tax or liability. The “haves” of all institutional systems (churches, labor, universities, and most predominantly businesses) keep inventing reasons for opposing federal intervention as unjust or irrational, except when it comes to their special privileges.

Television, another commercial medium, becomes a preferred alternative. It occupies the children and relaxes the parents. The market also has invaded areas of private and civic life such as emotions, leisure, and traditionally not-for-profit sectors, among them education and health care. The shift from the feelings and conduct inspired by the term “blood donor” to the practices corresponding to the label “sperm bank” illustrates these changes. The first involves a civic contribution; the latter, a commercial transaction.

Examples are the placement of museums of history in shopping complexes like New York City’s South Street Seaport (Schor ); the explosion of business support for and influence on the arts (Naisbitt and Aburdene ); the naming of cultural centers after corporations; and the thorough commercialization of sports (Lasch ), including the tolerance of misbehavior by professional athletes and the loosening of eligibility criteria for the Olympic games. The same holds true of public rituals, which also are increasingly for hire.

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