Authors openly admit what their ideologies are, specifically liberals, but not libertarians. That alone hinted at a possible lack of bias in throughout the book and that has largely been delivered. We get a nice overview of laissez-faire tendencies as well as the rise of the welfare state without any simplified criticisms.
The book reads very well, the description of history is well structured and links to a lot of primary sources. As we get closer to the 21st century, I get more excited as to what grounding the authors have for the argument that the rise of limited states is inevitable. But that never comes. The end of the book is a bizarre mish mash of ass derived policy recommendations that are inconsistent throughout the book.
We never get to find out why the welfare state has failed or what tendencies will make it a thing of the past. There is a lot of "should", "have to", "ideally" etc., but little is grounded in data and well supported arguments. There's surprisingly little evidence in the book. Authors mention numbers from time to time, for a country or two, but not much more.
I really wanted to like this book and I really did love the first bit, the historical description. But once the authors get to the policy recommendations and predictious about the future, I just wanted the book to end, because I learned nothing from those. Too bad.
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