cover image The Great Democracy: How to Fix Our Politics, Unite the Economy & Unite America

The Great Democracy: How to Fix Our Politics, Unite the Economy & Unite America

Ganesh Sitaraman. Basic, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-1-5416-1811-4

Vanderbilt Law School professor Sitaraman (The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution) delivers a thoughtful, forward-thinking study of the state of American democracy. He argues that the four pillars of neoliberalism (global trade, industry deregulation, privatization of public services, and budget austerity) have created levels of economic inequality that pose a mortal threat to the country. Without systematic reform, Sitaraman argues, America will become a “nationalist oligarchy” in which a small group of elites controls the government and the economy by means of unlimited political spending, gerrymandering, voting restrictions, and media manipulation. To avoid this outcome, Sitaraman urges the forging of a new sense of American community, the dismantling of excessive corporate power, and the increased participation of “ordinary people” in the political system. He suggests a dizzying number of policies to further these goals, including the merging of the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and VISTA into one national service program, the aggressive application of antitrust laws, and such “radical” changes to the Supreme Court as the appointment of all federal appeals judges to the court as associate justices. Sitaraman’s clear prose and willingness to tackle thorny problems are admirable, even if some of his proposals seem farfetched. Progressives will savor this idealistic blueprint for the future. (Dec.)