CHALLENGE TO AFFLUENCE by Gunnar Myrdal

CHALLENGE TO AFFLUENCE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

urther considerations from Gunnar Myrdal on the ups and downs, fulfillments and frustrations of the American economy, a subject in which the noted Swedish scholar has been steeped, sometimes with sympathy, sometimes with a slight scorn, for many, many years. The professor's English is dignified, almost dainty; his argumentative powers, however, are brisk: page after page combats the ""creeping complacency"" an atmosphere of affluence engenders, the increasing inequality in the midst of general equality it fosters, and the overall folklore it preaches,- namely that since our production-consumption levels have been so startlingly successful we can now slow down, sit back and watch the dividends pour in. Such a position, we are advised, is ""patently wrong"". Unemployment and underemployment are becoming structural problems. A readjustment of the labor supply to fit the labor demand is necessary; social reform is a concomitant of material expansion; technological and demographic changes imply large-scale planning vis-a-vis the public and private ""unmet needs"". In short, the prescription reads: not a balanced budget but a ""balanced economy""; not less of government ""redirection"" but more; internally and internationally the welfare state is in the cards, like it or no. The Myrdal primer-sound and sturdy, if somewhat sectarian, complements some similar scoldings from Rostow, Galbraith, Ward, etc.

Publisher: Pantheon