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