Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? by Robert Kuttner

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Turning after this to Kuttner’s latest, “Can Democracy Survive Capitalism?,” was probably unfair. For one thing, it’s not as good: The book is a timely polemic against globalization and marketization, not a document meant to withstand the test of time.
-NY Times

Synopsis

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.

 

About Robert Kuttner

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Published April 10, 2018 by W. W. Norton & Company. 384 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?
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Kirkus

Good
on Jan 22 2018

Capitalism as we know it today is anti-democratic—and not likely to relinquish power without a fight. A useful resource for setting agendas.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Justin Fox on May 18 2018

Turning after this to Kuttner’s latest, “Can Democracy Survive Capitalism?,” was probably unfair. For one thing, it’s not as good: The book is a timely polemic against globalization and marketization, not a document meant to withstand the test of time.

Read Full Review of Can Democracy Survive Global ... | See more reviews from NY Times

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