209 | Brad DeLong on Why the 20th Century Fell Short of Utopia


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People throughout history have imagined ideal societies of various sorts. As the twentieth century dawned, advances in manufacturing and communication arguably brought the idea of utopia within our practical reach, at least as far as economic necessities are concerned. But we failed to achieve it, to say the least. Brad DeLong’s new book, Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the Twentieth Century, investigates why. He compares the competing political and economic systems that dominated the “long 20th century” from 1870 to 2010, and how we managed to create such enormous wealth and still be left with such intractable problems.

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J. Bradford DeLong received his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. He is currently a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. and chief economist at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He previously served as deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury for Economic Policy from 1993 to 1995. He has been a long-running blogger, now moved to Substack. He is a co-editor of The Economists’ Voice.

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