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What Ownership Society: Debating Housing and Social Security Reform in the United States

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  • Daniel Béland

Abstract

This article explores President George W. Bush's "ownership society" blueprint in comparative and historical perspective. By taking the "ownership society" seriously, it is possible to understand how it is deeply rooted in the American cultural repertoire, and how it offers a coherent neo-liberal discourse aimed at constructing the "need to reform" existing social policy legacies in the sense of a greater reliance on private savings and ownership. Although grounded in the American repertoire, President Bush's "ownership society" is inspired by a foreign model: Thatcher's "popular capitalism," another neo-liberal blueprint that featured a similar celebration of personal ownership. Discussing Thatcherism briefly before analyzing the debate over President Bush's "ownership society" in the fields of housing and pensions, this article underlines the relationship between ideational processes and institutional legacies in policy-making.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Béland, 2006. "What Ownership Society: Debating Housing and Social Security Reform in the United States," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 150, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:150
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    File URL: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/sedap/p/sedap150.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kevin Milligan, 2005. "Life-cycle asset accumulation and allocation in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(3), pages 1057-1106, August.
    2. Neil J. Buckley & Frank T. Denton & A. Leslie Robb & Byron G. Spencer, 2004. "Healthy Aging at Older Ages: Are Income and Education Important?," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 123, McMaster University.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    housing; pensions; ideas; institutions; United States; Britain;

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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