The author lays out an historical argument which explains much of what has happened in both the West and the former Soviet Union since WWII. The intense rivalry that existed after that devastating war initially forced Western elites to provide fairly decent social safety nets. He offers some excellent insights on the process of the unraveling of the latter in relation to what happened in the Soviet Union.
Immediately following the defeat of fascist-capitalist regimes with the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and its political allies in Eastern Europe embarked on a massive program of reconstruction, recovery, economic growth and the consolidation of power, based on far-reaching socio-economic welfare reforms. The great fear among Western capitalist regimes was that the working class in the West would “follow” the Soviet example or, at a minimum, support parties and actions which would undermine capitalist recovery.