The Unconscious Civilization

John Ralston Saul, Author
John Ralston Saul, Author Free Press $23 (208p) ISBN 978-0-684-83257-9
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-684-87108-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-660-18331-2
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4391-1860-3
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Writing in the same iconoclastic spirit he brought to Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West, Canadian writer Saul offers a damning indictment of what he terms corporatism, today's dominant ideology. While the corporatist state maintains a veneer of democracy, it squelches opposition to dominant corporate interests by controlling elected officials through lobbying and by using propaganda and rhetoric to obscure facts and deter communication among citizens. Corporatism, asserts Saul, creates conformists who behave like cogs in organizational hierarchies, not responsible citizens. Moreover, today's managerial-technocratic elite, while glorifying free markets, technology, computers and globalization, is, in Saul's opinion, narrowly self-serving and unable to cope with economic stagnation. His prescriptions include eliminating private-sector financing from electoral politics, renewing citizen participation in public affairs, massive creation of public-service jobs and a humanist education to replace narrow specialization. His erudite, often profound analysis challenges conservatives and liberals alike with its sweeping critique of Western culture, society and economic organization. (Jan.)
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