The great mystery of contemporary US politics is the persistent dominance of conservative ideology that began with Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980. As I write in September, the current Democratic political resurgence only confirms the strength of this dominance, as Bill Clinton has repackaged Republican rhetoric and themes as a New Democratic electoral strategy. Having declared the era of big government over, he has centered his administration’s domestic efforts on fighting crime and forcing welfare recipients into the labor force. Nor does Newt Gingrich’s spectacular political decline indicate a significant shift in public outlook. Gingrich and the Republican Congress did not fall from public favor because of their conservatism, but because of their departures from it. They scared the electorate with the radicalism of their proposals-with promises that they would do too much.
The mystery is that conservative ideas continue to prosper despite their manifest failure to alleviate society’s deepening problems: Our cities continue to decay, income and wealth inequalities deepen, and most people feel threatened by crime and economic hardship. Notwithstanding massive Reagan-era tax cuts on corporations and the wealthy, rates of business investment continue to be anemic by historical standards. Of course, true believers will reply that moral and economic renaissance is right around the corner-if only we muster sufficient discipline to reduce our dependence on the public sector and cut taxes even further. But for the rest of us, the question remains: What explains the continuing success of conservative rhetoric, in the face of its obvious failure to deliver for the vast majority of people?
One answer is that large corporate interests control the media and filter out ideas that might challenge conservative hegemony; people who are repeatedly told by newspapers, TV, and radio that government cannot solve problems come to believe it. But as we know from the Eastern European and Soviet experiences, the story is not so simple. When a social system is not delivering the goods, even the most rigorous control over all official media is not sufficient to make people believe the party line. In Eastern Europe, each repetition of the official propaganda had approximately the opposite effect-it reinforced the persuasiveness of a counter-view that contradicted the official ideology.
If political conservatism does not persuade through its accomplishments, or persist because of its constant reiteration, then what does explain its success? The answer lies largely in the substance of the rhetoric itself, in its resonance with abiding cultural themes. The right has deployed a range of allegories and metaphors rooted in Judeo-Christian theology that exert extraordinary influence on the popular imagination. For example, many people who do not share the right’s mean-spirited views have been persuaded of the urgency of balancing the federal budget, or of slashing welfare entitlements, by a rhetoric that has identified such goals with fundamental moral demands. Moreover, conservatives have succeeded in painting a simple picture of the economy that connects widespread economic distress with moral failure, and collective prosperity with righteousness.
If this is true, then efforts to dislodge conservative hegemony are likely to fail unless they at once decode the right’s rhetoric and provide a compelling counter-rhetoric. Such a counter-rhetoric must resonate with people’s experiences and offer a plausible way of thinking about the economy. The left has not only failed to provide this, but has in fact employed some rhetorical moves that effectively play into the metaphors of the right. Endlessly repeating that the real wages of working people have not risen since the 1960’s, for instance, will not in itself make people favor major progressive policy reforms. But it risks reinforcing the conservative claim that we are living beyond our means, and that only another round of belt-tightening will restore the economy to effective functioning.
The Structure of the Rhetoric
Contemporary conservative economic rhetoric is founded on the allegory of “Amazing Grace.” As the song goes, “I once was lost, but now I am found.” It is the story of an individual who begins on the path of righteousness, loses his or her way, and then achieves redemption through God’s saving grace. But redemption does not simply fall from the sky: It requires repentance-a recognition of sinfulness, and subsequent acts of self-discipline aimed at returning to the righteous path. The right has transformed this familiar story into an account of recent US economic history. Some years ago-perhaps the 1920’s, perhaps the 1950’s, the story varies-we enjoyed prosperity because US citizens worked hard, valued frugality, and lived an ethic of self-reliance. But then we collectively left the path of righteousness. Led into temptation, according to one version, by the helping hand of the state, people became lazy, profligate, dependent, and undisciplined; lost in the land of the lotus-eaters, our earlier prosperity disappeared. The solution-individually and collectively-is repentance and self-discipline. Practically, this means a period of collective austerity and personal belt-tightening in which we consume less, save more, and rely less on government; ultimately, prosperity will reward our restraint.
Ronald Reagan told this story in the 1980 campaign and used it to justify his administration’s cutbacks in social programs and reductions in tax rates for corporations and the wealthy. But when Reagan’s policies failed to restore a durable prosperity, Paul Tsongas and Ross Perot recycled the story, with Reagan himself now depicted as a false prophet who had failed to deliver on the promise of austerity. This revised tale was reiterated in the Republican Contract With America, and has emerged in the 1996 presidential campaign in Steve Forbes’ flat tax proposal, Bob Dole’s tax-cut plan, and Bill Clinton’s embrace of the idea that “the era of big government is over.”
The story of fall and redemption helps to organize and give moral structure to a family of metaphors that have deeply influenced popular perceptions of the economy. The central metaphor is that capital is the lifeblood of the economy-the precious fluid that makes it grow-and that most economic ills can be traced to insufficient flows of this critical resource.1 This is why profligacy is so damaging; when individuals fail to save, the consequence is an insufficient supply of money capital, which means less investment, slower economic growth, and less prosperity. As Ronald Reagan used to say, the problem is that we are eating our seed corn-sacrificing future prosperity by consuming too much in the present. That is why austerity, like repentance, has the ability to redeem us; when we reduce our collective consumption, resources will be freed up for investment and that means a brighter future.
A second key metaphor is that the state is like a vampire that is continually threatening to suck the lifeblood out of the economy. This imagery dates back to the critique of autocratic regimes in early Modern Europe that were often voracious in their appetite for revenues to fund war and the extravagance of royal courts. Contemporary conservatives have successfully attached the same imagery to democratically elected governments. They have argued that governments, like other monopolists acting without market discipline, are wasteful and inefficient. Even in producing indispensable services-defense, justice, and enforcement of property rights-government inevitably uses more resources than would a private firm producing the same services. And they have claimed that elected officials cannot resist the temptation to expand government services in order to win votes, which suggests that there is a natural tendency for government expenditures to grow as a percentage of total output. The combination of out-of-control growth with endemic inefficiency means that government inevitably pulls resources out of society that could be used much more efficiently by private actors.
We all know that the private sector is also capable of using resources inefficiently. But this commonplace observation is obscured by yet another metaphor-the idea that market competition is like a process of natural selection that allows only the fittest firms to survive. Because wasteful firms would quickly be displaced by efficient upstarts, highly inefficient practices cannot persist in the private economy. Because market competition only allows efficient firms to survive, it is absolutely vital that there be a steady and reliable flow of capital to them, rather than to the parasitic state.
Within this framework, economic difficulties can always be overcome by cutting taxes, restricting wage growth, and reducing government spending. For these steps will increase the supply of private savings, which will then be invested by firms that are forced by market discipline to use resources productively. Austerity policies are always the fastest and most direct route to restoring prosperity, so that even those who suffer from reduced wages or who lose government assistance will ultimately benefit.
Untangling the Distortions
However strong its cultural appeal, this rhetorical framework is filled with errors of logic and analysis. Its central weakness lies in the metaphor of market competition as natural selection. Even in the case of biological evolution, natural selection does not always result in optimal design. That’s partly because natural selection is not the only force at work in biological evolution, and partly because nature sometimes generates adaptations that are just-good-enough rather than best. Just because cockroaches have survived as a species for eons does not mean that cockroaches have evolved the best possible digestive system. So by analogy, just because General Motors has lasted for a long time does not mean that it has evolved the best possible means of producing cars.
In fact, some economists have provided powerful explanations of why firms in competitive markets need not develop anywhere near the most efficient practices. One explanation points to divergences of interest between a firm’s stockholders and its managers. While the stockholders might prefer the maximum stream of profits, the managers who make the day-to-day decisions might prefer instead that the firm grow-either through internal expansion or acquisitions-even at some cost in efficiency. They might reason that growth makes it easier to manage other managers, or that it provides a solid rationale for higher executive compensation. Since it is costly and difficult for owners to force managers to obey their wishes, they might as well settle for less than optimal performance. And if this kind of ownership structure characterizes the major firms in an industry, market pressures for efficiency might be quite weak.
A parallel problem exists between a firm’s managers and its employees. While managers generally prefer that workers work at very high levels of intensity, workers generally favor a somewhat more relaxed pace that can be sustained over time. The problem is that with most labor processes, it is costly and difficult for management to hire enough supervisors to force the workers to maintain the faster pace of work. Typically, then, management and employees cut a deal that allows management to save on supervisory costs while workers accept a somewhat higher level of intensity than they might otherwise choose. Or to use a different example, management might decide to give up the greater efficiencies that come from upgrading employee skill levels because of a fear that the new skills would give the labor force too much bargaining power. In short, a host of different dynamics in the modern corporation can perpetuate sub-optimal and inefficient ways of doing business even when market competition is intense.
Once we acknowledge that business inefficiency exists-resisting the temptation to eliminate it by metaphysical fiat-it becomes clear that differences in efficiency among private firms can be extremely important. For example, in a major MIT study of the automobile industry, researchers found that the number of hours of labor required to produce a car varied enormously across assembly plants.2 Even in plants with similar levels of automation, the hours of labor to produce a car varied from 15 in the most efficient Japanese plants to 45 in the least efficient European plants. And within regions, there were also huge gaps in productivity between the most and least efficient plants. It follows that for any country, the single fastest route to increased prosperity is to bring the performance of its least efficient firms up to the level of its most efficient firms.
Such differences in efficiency across firms reflect variations in the ability of managers to combine or coordinate labor and capital. These variations might arise because managers are not motivated to use resources effectively, or because of a bad bargain between managers and workers, or other reasons. But these differences in “coordination efficiencies”-they are called that because they flow from success in coordinating the use of capital and labor-are ignored in popular economic discussions and much economic theory.3 Most discussion has been preoccupied with “allocational efficiencies”-those that come from delivering capital and labor to the firms that need them most. As long as people assume that firms that compete on a market will use resources optimally, the big question is assuring the best allocation of resources among firms. But recognizing that there is pervasive inefficiency in private sector firms, it is clear that the gains from increasing coordination efficiency can outweigh any potential gains from increasing allocational efficiency.
This insight also reveals just how misleading the capital-as-lifeblood metaphor can be. As soon as one abandons the assumption that firms will automatically adopt the best possible production techniques, it is apparent that organizational inertia, not lack of capital, commonly stands in the way of productivity growth. It is now well known that General Motors-believing that capital is the lifeblood of the economy-spent billions on new capital equipment in the 1980’s. But the investment had only a negligible effect on the firm’s performance. GM’s failure to change its organizational practices, including its tradition of adversarial labor relations, meant that the expected productivity gains from new equipment simply failed to materialize.
Similarly, an examination of coordination efficiencies in private firms undermines the credibility of the vampire state metaphor. For one thing, the notion of the inherent inefficiency of government relative to private firms goes out the window in the face of evidence that private firms are often guilty of less-than-optimal use of resources. From an empirical, rather than metaphorical, standpoint, it is apparent that some government agencies are highly efficient, while some are highly inefficient. Rather than cutting government across the board, then, the task is-as in the private sector-to increase coordination efficiencies in badly managed government agencies. Even more importantly, the public sector can help to increase private-sector coordination efficiencies. Where market competition fails to ensure growth in productivity, the public sector can foster improvements by building infrastructure, speeding the diffusion of technological innovations, ensuring higher levels of training and economic security for the labor force, and providing a context in which labor and management are able to negotiate more productive wage and work intensity bargains. As long as one thinks within the vampire state metaphor, pointing out these positive economic contributions of government is like saying, “Think of all the good things that Count Dracula has done for Transylvania.” But if one can get beyond the metaphor, it becomes possible to see that government policies can generate enormous economic gains.
Beyond Austerity and Repentance
Suppose, then, that we drop the metaphors of capital-as-lifeblood, the vampire state, and competition as natural selection. Still, the allegory of austerity and redemption may retain much of its power, even for the most secular among us. After all, haven’t we indulged ourselves too much? And aren’t we now paying the price for our sloth and indiscipline?
One problem with this allegory is that it represents society as the individual writ large-it assumes that collective economic outcomes are the consequence of the aggregation of the virtue or vice of millions of individuals. To see the trouble with this way of thinking, consider the plight of farmers in a bumper-crop year. Thousands of farmers work with extraordinary discipline and energy, and their efforts are rewarded with excellent weather and a huge harvest. As a consequence, agricultural prices fall precipitously and farmers earn much less than they did the previous year when the harvest was only mediocre. Individually virtuous conduct does not correlate with collectively good outcomes. Instead, institutions intervene between the individual and collectivity. The effectiveness or ineffectiveness of those institutions has much more bearing on ultimate outcomes than does the degree of individual virtue.
A second problem is that the story of austerity and redemption gives in to a collective cultural nostalgia as old as modernity. Each generation mourns the passing of a lost golden age when children listened to their parents, people cared about their neighbors, and the old-fashioned virtues of frugality and hard work were respected, practiced, and rewarded. This widespread nostalgia has distorted our perceptions of the economy, and has contributed to the widespread and erroneous belief that we no longer save enough to assure our future prosperity. This belief has in turn lent credibility to the oft-repeated claims that we cannot afford to continue government deficits or to pay for Medicare and Social Security at current rates.
Nostalgia for lost virtue has led economists and politicians to focus on the Commerce Department’s measure of Personal Saving, which dropped precipitously during the 1980’s and remains in the 1990’s at historically low levels. But closer inspection of this measure makes it a dubious index of declining virtue.4 The Commerce Department calculates Personal Saving with no specific information on the actual savings of individuals. Instead, it simply subtracts the estimate of Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) from the estimate of Disposable Personal Income (DPI) on the theory that any income not spent on consumption must be saved. Such a residual measure is notoriously sensitive to even small inaccuracies in the estimates of PCE and DPI. Furthermore, the definition of income used in determining Disposable Personal Income is very different from what one might expect. For example, it excludes all of the capital gains income that individuals receive from selling stocks and other assets that have appreciated in value. In 1986, these realized capital gains reported to the IRS were almost $300 billion, but weren’t counted by the Commerce Department as income.
Fortunately, another government agency-the Federal Reserve Board-has an independent measure of individual savings behavior. This largely neglected series is calculated by estimating the actual accumulation by individuals of assets in, for example, bank accounts, stocks, and pension funds. This series shows no historic trend towards declining personal saving. On the contrary, the Federal Reserve data reports the spectacular growth of pension fund assets over the past 50 years. Their value increased from $12.3 billion in 1945 to $949 billion in 1980 and to $5.0 trillion in 1994. The 1994 level is larger than the total net worth of all US nonfarm, nonfinancial corporations. It is hard to understand how a populace characterized by declining frugality has managed to increase pension fund savings by a factor of five in 15 years.
In any case, the savings of households have not been particularly important throughout the 20th Century in financing new business investment. The great bulk of business investment has been financed by internally generated funds. Neither General Motors nor Toyota actually relies on the frugality of their workforce to raise needed capital funds. In fact, from 1985 to 1990, US corporations put hundreds of billions into the purchase of stocks rather than the other way around. So the alleged decline in household saving is not only a fiction, but it is a red herring; it has no relevance at all to the performance of US firms as compared to foreign firms.
Despite its compelling moral quality, then, the story of declining savings is misleading. Moreover, it obscures the basic fact of American economic life-given the current distribution of income, our ability to produce goods and services is continually in danger of outstripping available demand. Consider automobiles. The extraordinary advances in productivity that have come with advanced technologies mean that the average car can now be assembled with only 20 hours of labor. So a plant with 10,000 workers can turn out a million cars a year. Because total domestic purchases of new cars are only approximately 6 or 7 million a year, it is obvious that the total number of auto production jobs is going to be pretty limited. This helps to explain why we have failed to engage in serious economic conversion since the end of the Cold War. We continue to stockpile weapons and sell as many as we can overseas, because we fear increased unemployment if defense firms go under. But why not retool those defense plants to produce electric cars, modular housing, and other things that we need? Because such production would likely undermine demand elsewhere in the economy and throw other people out of work. More demand for electric cars, for example, would reduce demand for conventional automobiles, forcing another round of painful contraction in that industry. The simple reality is that we have not found creative and rational ways to take advantage of our economy’s extraordinary capacity to produce goods and services with ever-declining requirements for human labor.
If our economy is continually teetering on the brink of insufficient demand that threatens to push us into recession or worse, what is the logic of cutting back government spending and entitlement programs for the poor and the aged? Why would austerity policies-which deliberately restrict consumption by limiting wage gains, cutting government benefits, or increasing unemployment-help us to cope with weak demand? Why would it make us all better off to force older people to pay for more of their medical expenses out of their own pockets rather than paying for them with government funds? The answer is that these policies won’t help. Our pressing problem is to adapt our institutions to our expanding capacity to produce. Deliberately reducing the standard of living of large groups in the population, so that their ability to consume and thereby create demand is further weakened, only makes this problem worse.
If the extraordinary productiveness of our economy is the issue, then the familiar complaint of progressives that real wages of US workers have not risen since the 1960’s is also off-point. This argument grows out of a critique of capitalism that says the system should be replaced because it fails to deliver the goods for most people. The suggestion is that lagging wage levels are not just a matter of maldistribution, but reflect a deeper problem in the economy’s capacity to produce enough to raise general living standards. But this argument is mistaken on both strategic and methodological grounds.
The strategic problem is that the right and center’s most potent argument about the economy is the claim that we simply cannot afford to do better. One analyst has described these as claims of false necessity. Politicians of the right and the center insist, for example, that they would like more money for AIDS research, an increased minimum wage, and rebuilding decaying roads and bridges, but the sad fact is that we simply do not have the funds, and if we did try to raise the funds, the consequences would be disastrous-rampant inflation and declining competitiveness on world markets. These arguments draw added force from the literary devices described earlier. The urgent task is to debunk these claims of false necessity to create political space for reform. We really can afford to take better care of the environment, and to reduce the economic insecurity of poor and working people. We can make more progress in this direction if we emphasize how extraordinarily productive our economy is, instead of telling people that there simply isn’t enough to go around.
But the methodological point is equally important. All those claims that real wages haven’t improved in 30 years rest on adjusting wage rates for the impact of inflation. Most analysts rely on the government’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) to compare the purchasing power of a dollar today with that of a dollar in 1966 or any other year. But there is mounting evidence that the CPI generally overstates the rate of inflation. A significant part of the problem is the difficulty of adjusting the index for innovations-how does one compare the value that one derives from a fax machine or a computer modem with the alternative technology that was available 30 years ago? This is not a problem that is confined to measuring the consumption of upper-middle class households, because our whole economy now devotes incredible resources to innovation-from producing snazzier athletic shoes and movies with fancier special effects to medical breakthroughs that save lives and drastically reduce treatment times. The fact that our price indexes fail to adjust for success in innovations means that they chronically overstate the rate of inflation.
If it turns out that the CPI overstates inflation by just 0.5 percent per year, then those graphs of stagnant real wages suddenly disappear. To be sure, the distribution of income has become progressively more unequal: Higher income households have increased their income at a much faster rate than lower income households. But it is a serious mistake to imagine that the purchasing power of the majority of Americans has not increased in 30 years. Even with all of its flaws, our current economy has provided a growing supply of goods and services for most people. The real problems are that:
We have not figured out ways to use our extraordinary productive capacity to address such pressing problems as growing poverty and too few good jobs.
We have allowed the distribution of income and wealth to become dangerously skewed toward the very rich.
We are under-producing many of the most important economic outputs, particularly those that cannot be stacked on store shelves: economic security, safe neighborhoods, satisfying and rewarding work, protection of the environment, and a sense of collective purpose.
To address these problems requires policies that are radically different from those on the current US political agenda. But in the present climate, such alternative policies sound wildly utopian and impractical. So rather than describing any of these policy alternatives in detail, it is more fruitful to suggest how reconceptualizing the economy might open the door for richer and more relevant policy debates. If our present situation has much to do with the literary devices that the right has successfully deployed, then the left must develop its own economic metaphors to make people understand that alternative policy ideas can be both practical and relevant.
This process has to begin with the revival of an intellectual tradition that was largely hidden by the intellectual polarization of the Cold War. Instead of the secular pessimism of Christian allegory or the boundless optimism of the Marxist tradition, this third tradition embraces a cautiously optimistic belief in the possibilities of social evolution based on the conscious adaptation of societies to changing circumstances. Rejecting the inevitability of progress, this view embraces an attitude towards social innovation that is tentative, experimental, and democratic. This intellectual current is expressed in John Dewey’s democratic radicalism, which was an important influence on the New Deal.
Invoking this idea of democratic experimentalism means pointing to the incredible capacities of advanced technologies and asking how we might deploy these technologies without increasing unemployment, poverty, and inequality. How can we redesign our institutions so that the ability to produce more cars or more phone calls with ever-fewer employees does not produce all the negative consequences that we currently associate with corporate or public sector downsizing? In what ways could we all benefit from technologies that eliminate many types of mind-numbing toil?
Answers to these questions will become more apparent if we abandon the vampire state metaphor in favor of other metaphors. Take, for example, the evocative modern mythology created by Gene Rodenberry in the Star Trek series. By playing on old American themes of a divided people becoming unified as they explore the frontier, Star Trek provides us with powerful political imagery. Instead of the vampire state, the government can be seen as analogous to the flight crew on the deck of the Starship Enterprise. After all, steering a modern economy is far more complex than driving a car-even on the most treacherous mountain road. It is more like steering a spaceship through uncharted parts of deep space with myriad dangers that require constant adaptations and shifts in course. For example, government regulatory policies that are successful at first might over time produce perverse incentives that undermine the original goals. In such cases, the policies need to be fine-tuned or even fundamentally restructured. Those governments that choose instead to maintain a constant course rooted in an ideological vision are headed for disaster. To prevent disaster, the flight crew must be constantly monitoring its instruments and continually reassessing its flight plan.
Even those who might be dissatisfied with the choices made by a particular flight crew are unlikely to suggest that it would be better to be guided through deep space by the “invisible hand.” Democratic politics is about assuring that the best crew is on the flight deck, and about devising intellectual arrangements to discourage the flight crew from abusing its considerable powers. But some people must be doing the steering.
What are the goals of the flight crew? We might extend the space metaphor by thinking of their mission as a treasure hunt. While the conventional wisdom endlessly insists that there is no free lunch, the reality is that advanced economies offer some very good bargain meals-“treasure troves” of resources that might otherwise be overlooked or unused. The task of the flight crew is to steer the economy to take maximal advantage of these treasure troves in order to raise the society’s standard of living.
The first treasure trove lies in the benefits that come from increasing coordination efficiencies in the economy-helping both private firms and public agencies to find more efficient ways of bringing together labor and capital equipment. When a government takes the right steps to develop an advanced information infrastructure or to encourage productive bargaining between labor and capital, it is charting the right course to accomplish this.
The second treasure trove was emphasized by Keynes-the gains that come from fully utilizing the society’s labor force and capital equipment. Not only do we continue to use large amounts of labor and capital to produce armaments that we hope will never be used, but we also allow millions of people and considerable productive capacity to lie idle. Government policies to bolster certain types of demand, so that we can convert military capacity to civilian use and create more employment opportunities, could significantly enhance our collective standard of living. To be sure, this is one of the more delicate steering tasks, since carelessly increasing demand can create inflation. But consciously adapting to our own expanding productive potential means finding non-inflationary ways to support demand.
The route to the third treasure trove involves spending on productive consumption. In our national income accounts, education is treated as simply another consumption item. But everyone knows that purchasing another year of schooling is different from buying a pleasure boat; the additional education tends to enhance the future value of an individual’s labor. Hence, this type of consumption is productive. It is society’s way to have its cake and eat it too-we increase consumption and we also increase our capacity to produce in the future. The more we can shift people’s preferences toward various forms of productive consumption, the better off we will be. Here, as well, effective government steering can provide us with more of this type of treasure.
The Starship and treasure trove metaphors might not be the most persuasive that we can devise. But they do correctly identify the strategic task at hand: to formulate a counter-discourse about the economy that makes intuitive sense to people while also making the right’s policy prescriptions for austerity appear foolish and misguided. The political right has made the left’s ideas seem this way from the Goldwater campaign forward, and if we are ever to defeat them, we need to follow their example.
1 These metaphors have a long history. William Harvey published his work showing that blood circulates through the body early in the 17th century at the same time that market economic activity was expanding its scope in England and other parts of Europe. Hence, many analysts of the emergent market economy in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries could not resist the analogy between the circulation of blood in the body and the circulation of capital in society.
2 James P. Womack, et al, The Machine that Changed the World (New York: Harper, 1991), p. 95.
3 An exception was the late Harvard economist, Harvey Liebenstein, who coined the term “x-efficiency” to refer to these coordination efficiencies. See Beyond Economic Man: A New Foundations for Microeconomics (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976).
4 I develop this argument at greater length in “Did Household Saving Really Decline in the Reagan Years?” Review of Radical Political Economics 27, 4 (1995): 37-55.