America has survived an economic near–disaster. While the state of employment and housing will one day improve, we will never return to the delusional prosperity that defined the first decade of the 21st century. Progressives should hold the key to quality of life in our coming post–consumerist society, but today Democrats have become timid, our vision of the good life marginalized by three decades of partisan attacks and the think tank–induced assumption that an unfettered marketplace, low taxes, and international adventurism will somehow give us an America capable of inspiring the world. Handmaking America, reaches back to the Arts–and–Crafts roots of progressive thought, confronting the way right–wing ideology and the power of post–industrial capitalism have undermined work, government; our very way of life, advancing a practical, achievable vision for a good society that can use the capacity of government to recover the essential strength of the American idea.
A Back-to-Basics Pathway to a Revitalized American Democracy
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Bill Ivey is the founding director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University. During his long tenure in public service, he served as Senate-confirmed chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts in the Clinton-Gore administration, and in that capacity is credited with both increasing the agency's budget and restoring good relations between the NEA and Capitol Hill. He is a trustee of the Center for American Progress, and served as a Team Leader in the Barack Obama presidential transition. He is the author of Arts, Inc. How Greed and Neglect have Destroyed our Cultural Rights, and Engaging Art: the Next Great Transformation of America's Cultural Life. As past president of the American Folklore Society, he today serves as China Liaison for that group. He makes his home in Nashville, Tennessee.