"If business and the Country will be run right:" The business challenge to the liberal consensus, 1945-1964

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"'If Business and the Country Will Be Run Right:' The Business Challenge to the Liberal Consensus, 1945-1964," by Kim Phillips-Fein, looks at the mobilization of conservative businessmen against the liberal political economy that emerged from the New Deal and the Second World War, These businessmen were sharply critical of the expanded federal government and strong labor unions throughout the postwar period. They sought to challenge the liberal economic order by helping to build think tanks critical of liberalism, by fighting labor unions, and ultimately by participating in political activities like the right-to-work campaigns of 1958, the gubernatorial bid of William F. Knowland in California that same year, and the presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater. By demonstrating the development of a network of conservative businessmen during this period, the article challenges the idea that "consensus" is the appropriate framework for thinking about postwar political economy. It also suggests the centrality of issues of political economy in the rise of conservatism in the postwar United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-215
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Labor and Working-Class History
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 4 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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