Nick Pearce’s nominations for most influential left-wing thinker of 2010/11

Nick Pearce, Director of the IPPR, nominated four American academics who are influencing UK politics for the most influential left-winger of 2010/11

By IPPR Director, Nick Pearce.  Follow him on twitter: @IPPR_NickP

I’d like to nominate four US thinkers who are influencing the British left.

Jacob Hacker, whose book (co-authored with Paul Pierson) Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington made the rich richer and turned its back on the middle class  is an innovative work of political economy, tracing the rise of economic inequality in the US since the 1970s to political factors, such as corporate lobbying, executive drift and the weakening of the power of working people, rather than the standard causes of technological change or higher returns to education.

It has already bequeathed a new sensibility to what Ed Miliband has called the problem of the “rich versus the rest” in UK debates on the squeezed middle.

Lane Kenworthy, whose blog Consider the Evidence is a must read port of call for anybody interested in debates on economic policy, welfare state theory, the labour market and poverty reduction.  

A prolific writer, whose work is always rich in empirical evidence as well as the latest theoretical debates, he is the author of Egalitarian Capitalism,  Jobs with Equality: Jobs, Incomes and Growth in Affluent Societies and Progress for the Poor (forthcoming). Great for debunking lazy thinking on left and right.

Dani Rodrik, Turkish-born Harvard-based theorist of globalisation, with a must-follow twitter account, is the author of seminal books of development economics on how different countries have forged paths to prosperity.

His latest work, The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy, surveys three centuries of economic history and argues for a leaner global system that recognises the vital role of national democracies. His thinking on modern industrial strategies is also set to become more influential in the UK.

Elizabeth Anderson, a lesser-known political philosopher who wrote a brilliant and influential essay on democratic or relational equality in the late 1990s, and whose recent work ranges from feminist theory to ethics and economics. She argues that democratic societies have a compelling interest in educating an integrated elite, drawn from all socially significant groups in society, offering a radically different perspective on social mobility for debates in the UK.

Her most recent bookThe Imperative of Integration, deserves to be read by anybody concerned with the inadequacy of conservative and mosaic multiculturalist theories of segregation and disadvantage, and will be important to the development of distinctive centre-left approaches to integration in the UK.

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