By Charles Lockhart (auth.)
Draws on societies' particular histories, unique paths of institutional improvement and contrasting cultures to provide an explanation for why they undertake diverse guidelines for universal difficulties. It compares the USA with Sweden on tax coverage, Canada on financing therapy, France on abortion coverage, and Japan on immigration.
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Extra resources for The Roots of American Exceptionalism: Institutions, Culture, and Policies
AND SWEDEN 47 ily than the United States—on personal income taxes to support its public sector. But Sweden makes less of an effort to augment personal income taxes with either corporate profits taxes or property taxes. Instead, the vast bulk of public revenues beyond those attributable to income taxes are raised in roughly equal amounts through payroll taxes and a stiff value-added tax (Pechman 1987, 31). It is Sweden’s reliance on these taxes, particularly the latter, which is regressive in the upper stretches of the income distribution, rather than any extensive program of personal tax expenditures, that largely accounts for the reduced burden of taxation among high income persons (Andersson 1987, 67).
A third episode of rapid growth in public sector responsibilities was initiated in response to the “rediscovery” of poverty (Harrington 1962) roughly simultaneously with the rise of the Civil Rights Movement in the early 1960s. President Lyndon B. Johnson subsequently mounted a “war on poverty” through the development of his Great Society programs. Since the early 1970s, in the absence of historical contingencies posing social dislocations on the scale of the Great Depression, the size and activity levels of the American national government have gradually declined, particularly in the areas of social policy that the New Deal and Great Society periods had developed.
In this manner, individualistic cultures maximize the degree to which material resources are left where individualists think that they are most productively employed: in the hands of capable self-interested private individuals. Second, individualists are apt to seek a limited range of objectives or values through state activity. They focus primarily on securing social (particularly economic) order from selected external and internal threats and, secondarily, on limited and rather narrow commitments to macroeconomic management and social welfare (Esping-Anderson 1990).
The Roots of American Exceptionalism: Institutions, Culture, and Policies by Charles Lockhart (auth.)