This widely read book has become a modern classic of political science.
The main argument which Lowi develops through both editions is that the liberal state grew to its immense size and presence without self-examination and without recognizing that its pattern of growth had problematic consequences. Its engine of growth was delegation. The government expanded by responding to the demands of all major organized interests, by assuming responsibility for programs sought by those interests, and by assigning that responsibility to administrative agencies. Through the process of accommodation, the agencies became captives of the interest groups, a tendency Lowi describes as clientelism. This in turn led to the formulation of new policies which tightened the grip of interest groups on the machinery of government.
Lowi claims that capitalism has died as a public philosophy in the United States. He attributes this to the expansion of government after 1932 with the Roosevelt revolution, which permitted the emergence of interest-group liberalism and, by the 1960s and 1970s, the death of capitalism as a public philosophy.
By "interest-group liberalism," Low has in mind the atrophy of institutions of popular control, the maintenance of old structures of privilege and the creation of new ones, and conservatism in several senses of the word. Congress has delegated its authority to interest groups, who govern via their influence over the bureaucracy.
Theodore J. Lowi
Theodore J. Lowi (born July 9, 1931) is the John L. Senior Professor of American Institutions teaching in the Government Department at Cornell University. His area of research is the American government and public policy.
Lowi obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University in 1954, and an Master of Arts and Ph.D. from Yale University in New Haven,Connecticut, in 1955 and 1961, respectively. He is a past president of the American Political Science Associationand the International Political Science Association. He was voted one of the most influential political scholars of the modern era. Lowi has been a frequent guest on NPR, PBS, and cable television news-issues talk shows.