Adam Seth Levine's American insecurity : why our economic fears lead to PDF

By Adam Seth Levine

ISBN-10: 0691162964

ISBN-13: 9780691162966

Americans this present day face no scarcity of threats to their monetary health and wellbeing, akin to activity and retirement lack of confidence, well-being care expenditures, and spiraling university college. whereas one may count on that those matters could inspire humans to develop into extra politically working on the problems, this frequently does not ensue, and the ensuing inactivity incorporates results for political debates and public coverage. relocating past formerly studied obstacles to political association, American Insecurity sheds gentle at the public's inactivity over financial insecurities through exhibiting that the rhetoric surrounding those concerns is basically self-undermining. by means of their nature, the very arguments meant to mobilize individuals--asking them to dedicate cash or time to politics--remind electorate in their financial fears and private constraints, resulting in undermobilization and nonparticipation.

Adam Seth Levine explains why the set of people that turn into politically lively on monetary lack of confidence matters is as a result particularly slim. whilst cash is required, simply those that care concerning the matters yet usually are not in my opinion affected get entangled. while time is required, participation is restricted to these no longer individually affected or those people who are in my view affected yet open air of the hard work strength with time to spare. The latter explains why it's really effortless to mobilize retirees on issues that mirror own monetary matters, reminiscent of Social safeguard and Medicare. quite often, notwithstanding, while political illustration calls for a wide workforce to make their case, financial lack of confidence threats are uniquely disadvantaged.

Scrutinizing the rules of political habit, American Insecurity bargains a brand new standpoint on collective participation.

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Extra resources for American insecurity : why our economic fears lead to political inaction

Sample text

Turning back to the earlier examples from HCAN, MoveOn, and others, one might still argue that perhaps they had such a difficult time because there was no broader narrative on these issues. When it comes to senior citizens, there is a common starting point: Social Security and Medicare. 49 Perhaps on these other issues people simply do not have a concrete sense of the types of risk-reducing goals that are both feasible and beneficial. One possible reason for this would be because government involvement in some areas of social welfare policy can appear invisible (or “submerged”) to the mass public, in which case people may not be aware of the degree to which the government is actually involved.

What factors help overcome them? One of the most important is organizational. Mobilizing a large and diffuse set of people typically requires at least a minimal amount of coordination and direction. When campaigns and parties are involved, that is often already in place. 25 In the past, such efforts were often coordinated via labor unions and voluntary membership federations, both of which enjoyed the political and financial resources to act as ambassadors for broad sets of shared interests. Labor unions, in addition, often had the power to compel membership among individuals who might benefit from their collective bargaining.

IMPLICATIONS FOR POLITICAL VOICE What implications does self-undermining rhetoric have for political voice on economic insecurity issues? On the one hand, it might not be much of a concern if it turned out that such rhetoric could be easily avoided (as it arguably was for Christine O’Donnell and Richard Nixon). Indeed, there are many cases in which it is relatively easy for speakers to avoid mentioning topics or considerations that would undermine their purpose. In the gun control example mentioned earlier, advocates eventually switched to an alternative frame (children’s safety) that communicated more precisely why ordinary citizens outside the law enforcement community needed to become personally involved on the issue.

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American insecurity : why our economic fears lead to political inaction by Adam Seth Levine


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