Turbo Capitalism

Edward Luttwak, Author, Edward Luttwak, Preface by
Edward Luttwak, Author, Edward Luttwak, Preface by HarperCollins Publishers $26 (290p) ISBN 978-0-06-019330-0
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-06-093137-7
Paperback - 290 pages - 978-0-7528-2088-0
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Since the administrations of Reagan and Thatcher, the virtues of deregulation and privatization have become accepted wisdom in the U.S. and the U.K. Luttwak, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and the author of The Endangered American Dream, has dubbed this free market, with its accelerated rate of structural change, ""turbo-capitalism."" Although he shares the general opinion that deregulation, privatization and globalization have reinvigorated sleepy economies, he writes that within the shiny apple of prosperity achieved in the U.S. and Britain lurks a worm in the form of reduced real wages, greater income inequality and increased alienation among those excluded from the benefits of growth. Luttwak argues that, in the U.S., such negative consequences are balanced by a vigorous legal system and Calvinist values. He is not as sanguine about the prospects for countries where turbo-capitalism is unchecked by such legal and cultural balances. Seeing unemployment as the global problem of our time and realizing that turbo-capitalism is more likely to aggravate than alleviate it, Luttwak singles out Japan as exemplary for its full employment policy, which endorses the position that the economy exists to serve society, not the other way around. Clearly relishing his Cassandra-like role, Luttwak outlines worst-case scenarios: conservative European monetary policy (with the euro) inhibits employment opportunities; geo-economic conflicts erupt with the spread of globalization. Even if his darkest forebodings never materialize, Luttwak puts readers on notice that, at the very least, speed bumps lie along the road ahead. (Feb.)
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