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Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?

Robert Kuttner

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Norton
16 April 2019
Politics & government; Economic theory & philosophy; Economic history
One of our leading social critics recounts capitalism's finest hour, and shows us how we might achieve it once again. In the past few decades, the wages of most workers have stagnated, even as productivity increased. Social supports have been cut, while corporations have achieved record profits. Downward mobility has produced political backlash. What is going on? Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? argues that neither trade nor immigration nor technological change is responsible for the harm to workers' prospects. According to Robert Kuttner, global capitalism is to blame. By limiting workers' rights, liberating bankers, allowing corporations to evade taxation, and preventing nations from assuring economic security, raw capitalism strikes at the very foundation of a healthy democracy. The resurgence of predatory capitalism was not inevitable. After the Great Depression, the U.S. government harnessed capitalism to democracy. Under Roosevelt's New Deal, labor unions were legalized, and capital regulated. Well into the 1950s and '60s, the Western world combined a thriving economy with a secure and growing middle class. Beginning in the 1970s, as deregulated capitalism regained the upper hand, elites began to dominate politics once again; policy reversals followed. The inequality and instability that ensued would eventually, in 2016, cause disillusioned voters to support far-right faux populism. Is today's poisonous alliance of reckless finance and ultranationalism inevitable? Or can we find the political will to make capitalism serve democracy, and not the other way around? Charting a plan for bold action based on political precedent, Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? is essential reading for anyone eager to reverse the decline of democracy in the West.
By:   Robert Kuttner
Imprint:   Norton
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 211mm,  Width: 140mm,  Spine: 25mm
Weight:   302g
ISBN:   9780393356892
ISBN 10:   0393356892
Pages:   384
Publication Date:   16 April 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Robert Kuttner, cofounder and coeditor of The American Prospect, is a former columnist for Business Week, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. He holds the Ida and Meyer Kirstein Chair at Brandeis University, and lives in Boston.

Reviews for Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?

A timely polemic against globalization and marketization.... [Robert Kuttner is]... something of a national treasure.... Kuttner has tirelessly poked holes in dominant economic narratives and consistently espoused a social-democratic populism that is looking much better than some of the alternatives these days. Conventional wisdom has it that our income disparities and dysfunctional politics are the consequence of inexorable and uncontrollable developments in technology, market competition, and globalization. As Robert Kuttner argues in this superb book, they are instead the result of our own policy choices.--Dani Rodrik, Harvard University, and author of Straight Talk on Trade and The Globalization Paradox Using historical synthesis and reporting, [Kuttner] explores how [unfettered global finance's] resurgence captured the political process and cut off policy approaches that could have protected the interests of workers and nations, leading to disillusionment with political institutions and the rise of ideological extremes. Kuttner's call to recognize and fight this status quo doesn't come with easy solutions, but it will inspire readers to think deeply about our complex and troubling times. [A] vigorous critique.... Capitalism as we know it today is anti-democratic--and not likely to relinquish power without a fight. A useful resource for setting agendas. Illuminating.... [A]ccessible to lay readers.... [T]hought-provoking. Robert Kuttner combines economic acumen, a gift for narrative, and genuine passion in his persuasive new book. In his telling, the issue isn't whether national economies should be open to foreign trade or finance. It's whether the rules of the global economy are set up to benefit ordinary citizens or merely economic elites.--Jacob S. Hacker, Yale University, and coauthor of Winner-Take-All Politics Kuttner brilliantly brings together two strands of thought: explaining both the economics and politics of global capitalism and how our society has abandoned core principles of fairness and equality. The rise of inequality helped pave the way for Donald Trump--a figure out of step with basic American values. Kuttner reminds us of the urgency with which we need to get back to a more just society.--Joseph E. Stiglitz, Columbia University, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, and best-selling author of The Price of Inequality Standing on the shoulders of Karl Polanyi, Bob Kuttner revives the lost art of political economy in this absorbing and important analysis of wild markets, assaults on labor, and profound changes to institutional rules.--Ira Katznelson, Columbia University, and author of the Bancroft Prize-winning Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time Timely and compelling.--Robert B. Reich


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