Degrees of Freedom

Degrees of Freedom: Canada and the United States in a Changing World

KEITH BANTING
GEORGE HOBERG
RICHARD SIMEON
Copyright Date: 1997
Pages: 512
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt819jz
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Degrees of Freedom
    Book Description:

    The book's primary aim is to determine whether Canada and the United States have become more similar as their economies have become more integrated and their societies more diverse. The authors conclude that, although powerful economic and social pressures clearly constrain national governments and lead to convergence in some areas, distinctive cultural and political processes preserve room for distinctive national responses to important problems of the late twentieth century.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6626-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Tables
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-2)
    Keith Banting, George Hoberg and Richard Simeon
  6. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-20)
    KEITH BANTING, GEORGE HOBERG and RICHARD SIMEON

    The late twentieth century is an era of dramatic change. Governments in advanced industrial nations such as Canada and the United States are under powerful pressures from changes that are sweeping through both international and domestic life. A deep restructuring of the global economy is reducing the economic importance of national borders, and new technologies are transforming traditional processes of production. Exciting opportunities are emerging for those on the leading edge of innovation; but many jobs are disappearing, average incomes are stagnating, and the wider sense of security that most citizens enjoyed in the postwar years is eroding. At the...

  7. PART ONE THE CHANGING WORLD OF CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES
    • 2 Changing Economies, Changing Societies
      (pp. 23-70)
      KEITH BANTING and RICHARD SIMEON

      The economic confidence and social stability of the postwar era is a fading memory in Canada and the United States. For almost a generation now, Canadians and Americans have struggled to come to terms with a new economic and social world. The sense of economic security enjoyed by the great majority of citizens in both countries during the 1950s and 1960s has waned, as stable economic growth has given way to deep restructuring in many industries, stagnating real wages, and greater inequality in market incomes. Some groups have clearly prospered in recent years. The prospects of many Canadians and Americans,...

    • 3 The Constraints of Public Opinion: Diverging or Converging Paths?
      (pp. 71-149)
      GEORGE PERLIN

      Chapter 2 described various forces of change impelling the policy agendas of governments in Canada and the United States towards a concern with an increasingly common set of new and difficult issues. However, the way in which governments on the two sides of the border respond to economic and social problems is conditioned by the configuration of public opinion in the two societies. Public issue priorities and policy preferences, as well as broader orientations towards government and political leaders, impose constraints on government policy making. It is therefore important to examine the pattern of similarities and differences in the opinions...

    • 4 Democracy and Performance: Governance in Canada and the United States
      (pp. 150-186)
      RICHARD SIMEON and ELAINE WILLIS

      A host of commentators and scholars in both Canada and the United States have talked of a crisis of governance. “The government of the United States as a whole has almost lost the capacity to govern” (McDonald 1991, xi). In both countries, there is a widespread sense of policy and institutional failure, a sense that the capacities of the political system and the problems it faces are “out of sync” (Mann 1990, 293). Such observations come from both the right and the left of the political spectrum, and they engage almost every aspect of existing institutions and processes. They address...

  8. PART TWO POLICY RESPONSES
    • 5 Macroeconomic Policy in Canada and the United States: Independence, Transmission,and Effectiveness
      (pp. 189-230)
      PAUL BOOTHE and DOUGLAS PURVIS

      This chapter compares Canadian and U.S. macroeconomic performance during the 1970s and 1980s. The comparison of performance will of necessity involve considerable description of key macroeconomic variables. However, it also involves a comparison of policies that must be described and then evaluated. Much of the descriptive material is provided in the first two sections; in subsequent sections we turn to an evaluation of policies. The range of U.S. and Canadian macroeconomic performance and the range of policy responses over this period are so diverse that it provides an almost laboratory-like data set with which to explore a wide variety of...

    • 6 Industrial Policy in Canada and the United States
      (pp. 231-266)
      ROBERT HOWSE and MARSHA CHANDLER

      The view that governments should act to encourage economic growth, enhance the living standards of citizens, and protect workers is deeply entrenched in both the United States and Canada. Macroeconomic policy, as discussed in the previous chapter, seeks to influence the economy by setting the broad monetary and fiscal context within which businesses, investors, and workers operate. Industrial policy, by contrast, seeks to shape economic growth and competitiveness more directly. It is the self-conscious effort to use government policy to create or restore the competitive advantage of particular sectors, industries, or firms – or, alternatively, to shelter firms and their workers...

    • 7 The Social Policy Divide: The Welfare State in Canada and the United States
      (pp. 267-309)
      KEITH BANTING

      The politics of change are perhaps most intense in the domain of social policy. The globalization of economic life, the fiscal weakness of the state, and the vigorous pluralism of domestic society have placed powerful pressures on the structure of social programs in all Western nations, including Canada and the United States. On both sides of the border, popular social programs have been subject to successive waves of retrenchment and restructuring, prompting increasingly polarized debates about the social role of government.

      Social policy represents a critical test of the pressures for convergence or even harmonization implicit in more integrated economies....

    • 8 The Judicialization of Politics: Rights and Public Policy in Canada and the United States
      (pp. 310-340)
      CHRISTOPHER MANFREDI

      The purpose of this chapter is to examine the extent to which the conflicting pressures from global and domestic forces outlined in chapter 1 are reflected in the Judicialization of politics in Canada and the United States. It argues that these two forces are responsible for convergence between Canada and the United States with respect to the degree to which organized social movements use litigation to seek policy outputs from government. However, the two countries are diverging with respect to the willingness of courts to respond positively to these new policy demands. Indeed, after a period of significant success from...

    • 9 Governing the Environment: Comparing Canada and the United States
      (pp. 341-386)
      GEORGE HOBERG

      The field of environmental policy has been subject to the two dynamics emphasized throughout this volume. First, the rise of the modern environmental movement in the sixties and seventies is one of the most prominent examples of the increasing social diversity. By elevating concerns about the side effects of industrial activities, environmentalists have greatly complicated the governing tasks of policy makers. Frequently, there are harsh trade-offs between environmental protection and the economic activities that create environmental risks. Politically, this problem is aggravated by the nature of environmental policy itself, which requires the imposition of costs on relatively concentrated interests to...

  9. PART THREE CONCLUSIONS
    • 10 Globalization, Fragmentation, and the Social Contract
      (pp. 389-416)
      RICHARD SIMEON, GEORGE HOBERG and KEITH BANTING

      Chapter 1 set out the fundamental questions that animate this book. First, what is the impact of two powerful forces of change, the globalization of the economy and diversification of society, that confront Canada and the United States? Second, to what extent have the responses of Canada and the United States produced convergence in the public policies and political processes of the two countries? Third, in a more evaluative mode, how effective have modern governments been in responding to major pressures for change and in establishing a new equilibrium between economy, society, and the state? This chapter summarizes our conclusions...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 417-432)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 433-482)
  12. Contributors
    (pp. 483-484)
  13. Index
    (pp. 485-493)