Amy C. Offner

presents

Sorting Out the Mixed Economy:
The Rise and Fall of Welfare and Developmental States in the Americas

This event includes a book signing

Date

Dec
2
Monday
December 2, 2019
7:00 PM

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes AMY C. OFFNER—Assistant Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania—for a discussion of her book, Sorting Out the Mixed Economy: The Rise and Fall of Welfare and Developmental States in the Americas.

About Sorting Out the Mixed Economy

In the years after 1945, a flood of U.S. advisors swept into Latin America with dreams of building a new economic order and lifting the Third World out of poverty. These businessmen, economists, community workers, and architects went south with the gospel of the New Deal on their lips, but Latin American realities soon revealed unexpected possibilities within the New Deal itself. In Colombia, Latin Americans and U.S. advisors ended up decentralizing the state, privatizing public functions, and launching austere social welfare programs. By the 1960s, they had remade the country’s housing projects, river valleys, and universities. They had also generated new lessons for the United States itself. When the Johnson administration launched the War on Poverty, U.S. social movements, business associations, and government agencies all promised to repatriate the lessons of development, and they did so by multiplying the uses of austerity and for-profit contracting within their own welfare state. A decade later, ascendant right-wing movements seeking to dismantle the midcentury state did not need to reach for entirely new ideas: they redeployed policies already at hand.

In this groundbreaking book, Amy Offner brings readers to Colombia and back, showing the entanglement of American societies and the contradictory promises of midcentury statebuilding. The untold story of how the road from the New Deal to the Great Society ran through Latin America, Sorting Out the Mixed Economy also offers a surprising new account of the origins of neoliberalism.

Praise for Sorting Out the Mixed Economy

"A most welcome addition to our understanding of public policy in the United States and Colombia, Sorting Out the Mixed Economy shows the deep links between economic and social policy since the mid-twentieth century and also helps to explain the cruel erosion of the welfare state." —Victor Bulmer-Thomas, University College London

"Persuasively argued and thoroughly documented, Amy Offner's brilliant book is a model of historically embedded political economic analysis—not least in revealing how the best-laid designs of Cold War poverty warriors were continually reshaped by historical contingencies and popular resistance, and ultimately used to undermine the vision of democratic capitalism they were designed to promote." —Alice O'Connor, University of California, Santa Barbara

"Sorting Out the Mixed Economy is an agile narrative that makes a truly important contribution to the study of twentieth-century history, capitalism, and the state in the western hemisphere." —Marco Palacios, El Colegio de México

Amy C. Offner
Amy C. Offner

Amy C. Offner

Amy C. Offner is an assistant professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, where she researches and teaches twentieth-century US history in global perspective with a special focus on Latin America. Her work addresses the history of capitalism and political economy, empire and foreign relations, and social and intellectual history. She is the author of Sorting Out the Mixed Economy: The Rise and Fall of Welfare Developmental States in the Americas, published in 2019.

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