POLITICAL SCIENCE

The Free-Market Family: How the Market Crushed the American Dream (and How It Can Be Restored)

Oxford Univ. Dec. 2019. 352p. notes. ISBN 9780190055479. $29.95. POL SCI
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Eichner (law, Univ. of North Carolina; The Supportive State) claims that Americans are unhappy because economic forces are disrupting the family, an institution central to her view of human flourishing. The first part presents extensive, data-driven support for her argument that the country’s market-based family policy is inconsistent with child development research on the value of stability and caretaking. The next section describes the history of welfare policy and reform. International comparisons feature prominently, and profiles of struggling families bring the material to life. Later chapters lay out a profamily policy agenda organized around principles of public investment in childcare, moderation of extreme inequality, a strengthened social safety net, and labor market policy emphasizing work-life balance.
VERDICT Covering similar economic themes as those in Jacob S. Hacker’s The Great Risk Shift but in a more personal and maternal voice, this work is likely to resonate most with readers interested in the case for profamily social policy.

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