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The State of the Nation: Government and the…

The State of the Nation: Government and the Quest for a Better Society

by Derek Bok

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0674292111, Paperback)

Derek Bok, a former Harvard president, understands the power of statistics. At their best, statistics provide a vital means to grasp the size and scope of a problem or to present a lucid image of a potential solution. Numbers are a powerful tool for interpreting the world. But few statistics are so potent that they can persuade without the accompaniment of artful rhetoric. In The State of the Union, Derek Bok sets aside the purple prose of many books on public policy and attempts to move readers with the clear light of comparative quantifiers. Comparing the rankings and measures of the United States with other industrialized countries, Bok marshals forth an argument for a more activist government that works to improve education, lessen poverty, and expand access to health care in the mode of most other welfare states. The numbers provide interesting jumping-off points, but the middle is missing. Bok delivers only conclusions to follow his data, leaving out the heavy lifting required to craft the underpinnings for the reforms he thinks desirable. As a ready collection of data on the comparative positions of industrialized countries this book is a useful resource.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:01 -0400)

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