Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?

Robert Kuttner. Norton, $27.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-393-60993-6
Americans still struggling to comprehend the election of President Trump will find American Prospect coeditor Kuttner’s cogent analysis illuminating. His critique of the Clinton campaign, which echoes and expands on Mark Lilla’s controversial New York Times op-ed “The End of Identity Liberalism,” is woven into a much broader survey of recent trends—both national and international—that have put liberal democracy in retreat across the world. Kuttner links that development, and the related potential resurgence of fascism, to globalization, which writers such as Thomas Friedman generally view as an unmitigated good. The reality, as Kuttner sees it, is that the “deregulation of constraints on transnational movements of money, products, service and labor” changes “the political distribution of power domestically” and increases the “influence of elites” who support globalization. He builds his case methodically and in a manner accessible to lay readers without a background in economics, looking at how tighter governmental controls impacted powerful financial institutions over the past century. However, even those who share his perspective may not necessarily share his optimism that the Democrats will choose a progressive standard-bearer in 2020, or that such a candidate would prevail against Trump’s brand of populism. As such, Kuttner’s analysis is thought-provoking but not fully convincing. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/08/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
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