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The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism [Hardcover]

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Item Number 159882  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   383
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.5" Width: 6.75" Height: 9.75"
Weight:   1.65 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   May 17, 2000
Publisher   University Of Chicago Press
ISBN  0226256626  
EAN  9780226256627  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Surveying the growing conservatism and religious revivalism of today's United States, Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert W. Fogel sees America in the midst of its Fourth Great Awakening. In his long-awaited and most ambitious book since Time on the Cross, Fogel looks to the nation's past to discover the strong link between technologically induced cycles of religiousness - or awakenings - in American history and attitudes towards poverty, education and social equality.

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More About Robert William Fogel

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize for Economics, Robert William Fogel, is the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of American Institutions in the Graduate School of Business, director of the Center for Population Economics, and a member of the Department of Economics and of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. He is also coauthor of the bestselling "Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery."

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Ivory Tower Misinformation  Feb 26, 2008
Since my husband and I and most of our best friends were the first members of the "Fourth Great Awakening" I feel qualified to comment here. Frankly, I resent Fogel's high-handed, over-educated, ivory-tower, the-mind-of-man-saves-all misrepresentations of one of the greatest religious movements of all time.

The Fourth Great Awakening wasn't/isn't a socio-economic movement. It's a *religious* movement. We didn't all "awaken" and then run out to get our advanced degrees in urban renewal. We ran out into the streets and proclaimed the Good News that JESUS Christ loves you and you and you and... We weren't called the "New Economists;" we were called JESUS FREAKS. If we felt lead to get further education at all, it was to become ministers, Bible teachers, priests, nuns, missionaries, musicians, publishers --- in short, any kind of communicator that could spread the good news that no matter who you are or where your are, how rich or how poor --- it doesn't matter; GOD loves you and you can change the world for the better, but it first has to start within you. Those who already had degrees and jobs went back changed people from the heart, from the inside out.

Of course, good things came out of this movement and continue on to this day what with the new Modest Women's movement, to a distilling of church attenders, to new laws being written all over the world for everything from Children's Rights to Living Wills to broader world views including new ways to solved global problems besides throwing money and/or artillery at them. But these and many others are *by-products* of a change, not the change itself. GOD reaching down and awakening the human heart is the basis of the Fourth Great Awakening --- not some intellectual exercise on economics nor the belief that enough good brain power can save the world.

Mr. Fogel, we pray for you.

Spiritual Programs for the Underclass  Sep 19, 2006
These are not happy days for liberals. Something seems to have gone wrong with the government of experts-like-us that liberals have built over the last century. The idea was that poverty was "not a personal failure, but a failure of society." Liberals reversed societal failure, Fogel writes, with government programs to mitigate material inequality. The result is that the material condition of the poor is much better than it was a century ago.

But the spiritual condition of the poor has deteriorated. Things like "drug addiction, alcoholism, births to unmarried teenage girls, rape, the battery of women and children, broken families, violent teenage death, and crime are generally more severe today than they were a century ago."

This is a problem for progressives, Fogel realizes, because unless they get their act together and do something about the "maldistribution of spiritual resources" they are going to lose their political power and their program of egalitarianism.

Fogel sees new hope for progressives in the Great Awakening model developed by William G. McLoughlin in Revivals, Awakenings, and Reform. The idea is that each existential crisis in American life leads to a religious Great Awakening, and thence to political reform and renewal. If liberals can co-opt the current religious revival then they can develop programs to provide the poor in spirit with spiritual values such as a "sense of purpose," a "vision of opportunity," a "sense of the mainstream of work and life," and so on.

Never mind that such a program of spiritual values would amount to a government church.

Still, this is a worthy look at the progressives' Big Problem and deserves its four stars.
My first review of this book is the Customer Review dated June 6, 2000. Without retracting anything I wrote in that review or my rating of the book, I would like to supplement my first review by suggesting three "entry-points" into the book for serious-minded readers:

(1) Mr. Fogel writes on page 10 - 'Technological advances in distilling reduced the costs of spirits and made it possible for the urban poor to afford immoderate amounts of alcohol. Reductions in the cost of ocean transportation brought huge waves of immigrants into American labor markets, lowering wages and promoting urban unemployment.' (From roughly 1875 through 1914.)

Consider the perspective of a social scientist who acknowledges the massive destitution of pre-World War II workers and their families in America (see next paragraph), but who finds remarkable causally the cheap ocean transportation rates paid by immigrants and their immoderate alcohol consumption in America; and who nowhere mentions either the industrial magnates who benefited -- not coincidentally -- from those two phenomenon, or the American labor movement which was fought most effectively for years by those magnates using those immigrants as scabs and strikebreakers. Maybe it's time to stop thinking of Robert Fogel as a historian, and consider him simply a practitioner of the world's greatest pseudo-science, economics.

(2) Mr. Fogel writes on page 177 - 'The new equity issues in the United States do not arise from the shocks of rapid urbanization, the destruction of small businesses by competition from industrial giants, the massive destitution created by the prolonged unemployment of up to one-quarter of prime-aged workers, the disappearance of the frontier as a safety valve for urban unemployment and poverty, or the undernutrition and premature death of the great majority of urban workers and their family members. Quite the contrary, the new issues are to a large extent the product of the solutions to these problems achieved by a combination of economic growth and the success of the reforms advocated by the Social Gospelers, their allies, and their successors.'

Imagine what Mr. Fogel means by the word 'solutions.' And in light of the facts described in the book American Apartheid, for example, consider which population(s) suffering "urban unemployment and poverty" Mr. Fogel thinks have had their problems solved by economic growth and the reforms advocated by the Social Gospelers, etc.

(3) Mr. Fogel writes on page 180 - '....the reform agenda spelled out by the religious Right......more fully addresses the new issues of egalitarianism than does the Agenda of the Third Great Awakening.' (The T.G.A. being the widespread reforms in America beginning at the end of the nineteenth century which led to the rise of the welfare state and policies to promote diversity.)

Imagine what Mr. Fogel means by the word 'egalitarianism.'
Four stars...  Nov 23, 2003
I found Robert Fogel's perspective on the American cyclical progression of political/religious synthesis enlightening, and refreshing.
Fogel's secular views chime in now and then, but they are under a veneer of worldly experience, not biased partisanism.
I particularly found this book useful, (as I am pursuing a political science degree), and revealing pertaining to the history of American society, and the foundation of American government.
Why aren't Americans Happier?  Nov 29, 2001
Robert Fogel discusses what he calls 'spiritual inequality", in the hope that the next american spiritual awakening 'fourth great awakening" in American religious Faith will change things. Fogel points ou that change has come in an astonishingy short period, he oints out, technical process has made it possible for almost everyone in the rich world to have food, clothing and shelter: which, a century ago, absorbed 8o% of the average household's consumption. The very meaning of poverty has changed. His book deals with the relationship between, on the one hand, organised religion and its periodic "awakenings", often stimulated by technological change; and, on the other, the political drive of equality. The first "great awakening in the 173os, laid the'Logical basis for the American Revolution, starting in 1800, built up to the abolition of slavery. The "Fourth great wakening" of the book's title is the religious revival that began around 1960. Like the two awakenings, it stressed equality of opportunity. But tis has set it at odds with the third awakening, which began late in the 19th century but cast its shadow throug the 2oth century. Because equality even of opportunity is hard to achieve, it may be that equality of remains forever an unattainable dream. I was disappointed by Fogel's reluctance to go deeper into the religious debate. Will American Christian fundamentalism rise - just as the Islamic one is and roughly as a reaction to modern secular life - and will it clash with secualr Europe?
all in all the book has a worthy purpose but I would have also preferred to see a less 'scientific' or econometric approach. Thomas Frank, Sennett and even Ortega's biography of Sam Walton offer a less theoretical but more compelling view of modern American life.

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