Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

This project began as a dissertation at the University of Virginia. I left my job in New York City and moved to Charlottesville, without a car, at the urging of Nelson Lichtenstein. I received a wonderful education in this southern place where I had never been. I would like first to thank my dissertation committee: Nelson Lichtenstein, Brian Balogh, Margaret Weir, and Olivier Zunz...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xiii-xvi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-15

Early in the twenty-first century some of America’s best-known corporations went bankrupt or teetered close to the edge of economic viability. Among them were Bethlehem Steel, National Steel, Polaroid, Enron, Lucent Technologies, and WorldCom. As their financial solvency disintegrated, so too did the promise of social welfare support and long-term economic security these firms had offered workers and their families...

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1. Mass Marketing Private Insurance: The Origins of a Private Employee Benefits System, 1910–1933

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pp. 16-52

The American system of firm-based social welfare has, until the recent proliferation of managed care, been anchored in group insurance. In its familiar, post–World War II form this system encompassed hospital and medical benefits, pensions, disability coverage, life insurance, and supplemental unemployment benefits. These postwar social welfare benefits grew out of the group life insurance plans first created by commercial life insurance companies in the 1910s...

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2. Industrial Pensions: Efficiency and Security

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pp. 53-77

While group insurance laid the foundation for the modern system of private, employment-based social welfare, industrial pensions did not immediately develop from group insurance. Insurance companies were not the only source of old-age and disability benefits in the early decades of the twentieth century; in fact, they were a relatively insignificant source, covering only 2 percent of the employees under industrial plans...

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3. The New Deal Struggle: Insurers, Employers, and the Politics of Social Security, 1933–1940

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pp. 78-115

The momentum propelling the passage of a national social insurance program came from mass movements like the Townsend movement, while the design of the program came from social insurance experts.1 With the passage of the Social Security Act, the grass-roots movements and New Dealers generated an ideology of security, as well as a new policy of government intervention in the wage relation, of which business had to take note...

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4. Organizing for Health Security: Community, Labor, and New Deal Visions for Health Care and Health Policy, 1930s–1940s

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pp. 116-161

The federal government’s new role in economic security matters had a ripple effect among community and economic institutions. New Dealers, progressives, and labor activists expected the Social Security Act to mark a breaking point with the past, to inaugurate a new era in which individual concerns would be social concerns, and social concerns new rights enforceable by the state. After 1935 labor liberals and social welfare New Dealers eagerly laid plans for expanding the realm of security...

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5. Economic Security on the Home Front: Health Insurance and Pensions during World War II

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pp. 162-203

World War II stimulated massive population upheavals, as workers and farmers uprooted themselves and migrated to new production centers. Twenty-five million Americans, one-fifth of the total population, moved to a new town, county, or state between 1940 and 1947. The intensified pace of production, as well as the pressures of overcrowding on housing and local services, brought new health problems and increased the risks of industrial accidents and diseases...

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6. Managing Security: The Triumph of Group Insurance and the State’s Legitimation of the Public-Private Welfare State, 1940–1960

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pp. 204-257

America’s private social security system would reach full fruition after World War II. Threatened by the potential expansion of the New Deal state—its regulatory apparatus, its welfare support, and its endorsement of trade unionism—business firms acceded to the pervasive ideology of security and provided unprecedented levels of social welfare benefits...

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7. Epilogue: The Limits of Private Security, 1960s–1990s

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pp. 258-276

For two generations the public and the private welfare systems grew in tandem, offering a growing level of benefits to millions of Americans. Private pensions, firm-based unemployment benefits, and some forms of disability compensation supplemented the Social Security System. In some areas, supplementation actually became substitution...

Notes

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pp. 277-340

Index

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pp. 341-355