Jacob Hacker On "American Amnesia" And The Importance Of Government In The Economy

Sep 2, 2016

For much of the 20th century, private and public enterprises worked as both partners and adversaries to drive economic growth in our country. But in recent years, the balance within this so-called “mixed economy” has shifted away from public investment and regulation. Today, the term “Big Government” is widely considered a pejorative – despite the role public institutions have historically played in laying the foundation for social development and prosperity.

In a new book titled American Amnesia, political scientists Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson take issue with what they describe as a war on government. In the book’s introduction, they note that American Amnesia is about an uncomfortable truth: That it takes government, a lot of government, for advanced societies to flourish.

One of the book’s two authors, Jacob Hacker is director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University. This is the third book Hacker has written with his colleague and co-author Paul Pierson, who is at the University of California, Berkeley.