Professor Michael Dennis’ new book, The Full Employment Horizon in 20th-Century America: The Movement for Economic Democracy has just been published by Bloomsbury. A historian of working-class movements, race, political economy, and social protest in the American experience, Dennis explores the dissent, policy debate and popular mobilization that defined the campaign for full employment between 1930-1970. Dennis argues that this campaign was inextricably connected to the movement for economic democracy.
Through a ‘bottom-up’ approach, Dennis shows how social movements reshaped the idea of full employment, expanded democratic parameters, and offered a means of liberating workers across the racial and ethnic spectrum. Throughout eight interesting chapters, the book notes how the hard-fought campaign for full employment intersected with other movements – such as women’s liberation and civil rights – to expand the horizon of economic emancipation.
Importantly, The Full Employment Horizon demonstrates how the inequalities and inherent tensions within American capitalism ensured that the social vision of full employment would continually challenge the assertion that business-led growth automatically generated employment for all.