Scheduled for publication on the 75th anniversary of the Black Thursday stock market crash, this closely argued treatise from University of Maryland political economist Alperovitz (The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb) claims we are in the midst of another deep economic, social and political crisis. Capitalism, democracy, equality and liberty have disappeared from the United States, he says. Corporations and rich people control the wealth and government; their power destroys liberty and the entrepreneurial freedom necessary for capitalism. Traditional reforms are inadequate. Progressive taxation and social programs only redistribute income; we need to redistribute wealth. Easier voter registration and campaign finances miss the point; federal power must be reallocated to regional governments and local citizens' associations whose scale makes participatory democracy possible. We need shorter work weeks, stronger labor unions, worker-owned or directed firms, less debt and more respect for the environment. The first six chapters could have been written in the 1970s. The statistics and quotes are current, but there is no discussion of recent global experience with many of the ideas. The remainder of the book combines these ideas into what the author calls ""21st century populism"" working toward a ""Pluralist Commonwealth."" The book's strength lies in its integration of diverse populist issues into a coherent agenda rooted in deep American values from the Declaration of Independence.
Reviewed on: 10/18/2004 Release date: 10/01/2004 Genre: Nonfiction