4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
diagnosis of the US and solution,
This review is from: The Price of Civilization: Economics and Ethics After the Fall (Hardcover)
This book is about what to do to correct the three decades of mistakes by Reagan politics which has been characterised by an unprecedented inequality. Tax cut only for the rich, deregulation, and unfettered belief about the market power do everything right has been the dominant ideology among both sides of the Atlantic. This is not a new idea now as we already saw the Occupy movements around the world from London, Seoul to New York. The new point of the author's argument lies with the statement that we are entering a new era where Asia, which before the 18th century accounted for more than half of production of the world, once again becomes a powerful region.Mass job loss and an increasing pay gap between skilled and unskilled labour market are explained in terms of Asia's economic resurgence. During the 1980s developed nations such as the United States should have invested more heavily on education and put in place some job sharing scheme similar to that of Germans. However the United States and the United Kingdom were eager to please business classes. They selected job cuts and tax cut for the rich. The result is mass unemployment among the working class and a new Gilded age for Americans. The author also describes and criticises the moneyed interests of corporate America. Lobbying firms and revolving door system between lobbyists and politicians put American politics in the grip of corporations.
The most powerful is the traditional military industrial complex. They have been thriving on wars in the middle east contracting out defence work project. Financial industry also became a powerful player in Washington. The industry received bailout money and continued massive executive compensation payment. Major reforms, even in the face of financial collapse, were thwarted and postponed or simply labeled as socialistic ideas. Healthcare industry now wields as much political influence in American politics as the military industrial complex. Obama's health care has some benefits for the ordinary people, however the juice of money is for the industry and no reform was instigated for the reduction of health care cost. The oil industry also grabbed the Congress, the Senate as well as the House of Representatives. Sustainable developments and alternative energy development were never raised seriously by the government.
The book's main point is that it provides answers very clearly to the aforementioned challenge. The author emphasises the paramount importance of investment for the future. Early childhood education was mentioned as the most profitable investment by the public sector. The government should provide money and infrastructure for never ending education. Other investment projects such as roads and public facilities should be renewed. His idea of public investment is mentioned not so much in terms of demand boost as in terms of future investment. Active labour market policies is also encouraged to boost employment.
All in all the alternative to today's America is a mixed economy in which the federal government provides money and resources for investment for children and young adults.
Inevitably thus we have to search where we can find money for all the social spending. After a careful reading of the book we realises that there's no money left even if we dissect government's budget in detail. The truth is without tax increase for the rich there is no large amount of money for social investment. Tax increase for the rich is essential to cure the United States of this problem.
To do the aforementioned reform he suggest a social movement such as the third party to criticise the right wing two party system, Republicans and Democrats. The young generation, who are socially active and articulate, are encouraged to fight for new America.