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Working and Living in the Shadow of Economic Fragility$
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Marion Crain and Michael Sherraden

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199988488

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199988488.001.0001

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Guardianship and the New Gilded Age

Guardianship and the New Gilded Age

Insular Politics and the Perils of Elite Rule

(p.157) 9 Guardianship and the New Gilded Age
Working and Living in the Shadow of Economic Fragility

Joe Soss

Lawrence R. Jacobs

Oxford University Press

Since the 1970s, governing elites in America have become increasingly insulated from democratic processes and public accountability. A more sequestered form of elite rule, in turn, has led to rising economic inequality, social insecurity for all but the wealthiest Americans, and deep pathologies in the policy process. Interactions among governing elites are marked by conflict and polarization in some arenas and by collaboration and consensus in others. In the key institutions of state, market, and civil society, however, elites govern America today with their eyes primarily on one another. Ordinary citizens are relegated to the sidelines, their potential for influence now reduced to one of the “problems“ elites endeavor to manage. The result is a mode of governance far less attuned to the needs and aspirations of the people. We experience it all around us, in todays that are less livable and tomorrows less secure.

Keywords:   economic inequality, governing elite, Great Compression, Great Recession, guardianship, New Gilded Age, public accountability, representative democracy, social insecurity, labor unions

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