"The Old Economic Rules No Longer Apply": The National Planning Idea and the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act, 1974-1978

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Abstract

The campaign to pass the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act has been misunderstood by many historians. Rather than a failed attempt to resuscitate New Deal Keynesianism by an exhausted Democratic Party, it represented a radical effort to reconfigure the political economy of the United States by embracing national planning ideas that were enjoying a revival in response to the economic crisis of the 1970s. The fact that this bill proved politically viable challenges historians’ assumptions that this decade saw the American people turn away from “big government” and toward pro-market solutions for social and economic problems. This episode also forces us to reassess our understanding of the Democratic Party in this decade. It suggests that historians have erred in drawing a sharp distinction between the party’s “New Deal” and “New Politics” factions and that the policy goals of those factions dovetailed more often than has been appreciated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-100
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Policy History
Volume31
Issue number1
Early online date30 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

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