Fighting over the Scraps

The Age of Austerity
How Scarcity Will Remake American Politics
Thomas Byrne Edsall
Doubleday, $24.95, 272 pp.

The main theme of this book is easily stated: a healthy democracy requires abundance and steady growth, while scarcity, whether natural or the man-made byproduct of muddled policy, can pull a democratic polity into the slough of despond. For a long time following World War II, America basked in the politics of abundance; a widely shared prosperity helped lubricate our multiracial, multi-ethnic, class-stratified republic, reducing democratic frictions and exerting a...

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About the Author

Michael J. Lacey is co-editor of The Crisis of Authority in Catholic Modernity (Oxford University Press).