The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity

Robert Kuttner, Author . Knopf $26.95 (337p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4080-3

As Keynesianism has been surpassed by a resurgent free market ideology, many of the policies, institutions and regulations of the New Deal have been abandoned in favor of a more business-friendly orientation. Kuttner argues that these changes have further enriched the already wealthy at the expense of America's lower and middle classes, exacerbating inequality and systematically weakening the economy. The controversial American Prospect editor favors a form of “soft capitalism,” in which the vicissitudes of the market and the risk to which it exposes ordinary Americans are tempered by government intervention—or, as he colorfully puts it, “public regulation of the market's self-cannibalizing tendencies.” Bringing a wealth of historical knowledge to bear on the problems of financial regulation, Kuttner compares the causes of the Great Depression and other economic crises to behavior patterns evident in our market system today, with unfavorable conclusions. However, much of the argumentation may be too technical to hold the interest of a nonspecialist for very long. While some of Kuttner's statistics are dubious and some of his policy recommendations have been thoroughly and universally discredited (e.g., reregulation of the airline industry, bringing the Federal Reserve under presidential control), his book is a useful corrective to more extreme libertarian works. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/10/2007
Release date: 11/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 337 pages - 978-1-4000-3363-8
Open Ebook - 249 pages - 978-0-307-47274-8
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