Vampire State -Op/111

Fred L. Block, Author
Fred L. Block, Author New Press $23 (320p) ISBN 978-1-56584-193-2
Paperback - 305 pages - 978-1-56584-194-9
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In Block's reckoning, the Republican-led drive to drastically cut government social spending, eliminate the federal deficit, dismantle regulation and offer deep tax cuts reflects a misguided anti-state frenzy. Such thinking, he argues, stems from pervasive economic images and metaphors percolating through the body politic, metaphors ultimately derived from Christian allegory and biological phenomena: the economy as a battlefield of natural selection and survival of the fittest; the assumption that redemptive pain will accompany austerity; the image of a vampire-like, bloated government draining the blood out of society. Chair of the UC-Davis sociology department, Block proposes a series of steps to halt the growing polarization of rich and poor, to encourage popular entrepreneurialism, job creation, productive consumption and overall efficiency, coupled with international structural reforms to counteract the antidemocratic tendencies of financial markets. His powerful primer stands much conventional wisdom on its head. Translation rights: New Press. (Aug.)
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