Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life

Robert B. Reich, Author . Knopf $25 (272p) ISBN 978-0-307-26561-6

In this compelling and important analysis of “the triumph of capitalism and the decline of democracy,” former labor secretary Reich urges us to rebalance the roles of business and government. Power, he writes, has shifted “away from us in our capacities as citizens and toward us as consumers and investors.” While praising the spread of global capitalism, he laments that “supercapitalism” has brought with it alienation from politics and community. The solution: “to separate capitalism from democracy, and guard the border between them.” Plainspoken and forceful, if somewhat repetitious, the book urges new and strengthened laws and regulations to restore authority to “the citizens in us.” Reich’s proposals are anything but knee-jerk liberal: he calls for abolishing the corporate income tax and labels the corporate social responsibility movement distracting and even counterproductive. As in 2004’s Reason , Reich exhibits perhaps too much confidence in Americans’ ability to think and act in their own best interests. But he refuses to shift blame for corporations’ dominance to the usual suspects, instead pointing a finger at “consumers like you and me who want better deals, and from investors like us who want better returns,” he writes. Provocatively argued, this book could help begin a necessary national conversation. (Sept. 6)

Reviewed on: 07/16/2007
Release date: 09/01/2007
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