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Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Lifeby Robert B. Reich
Synopses & Reviews
From the greatly admired author of The Work of Nations and The Future of Success, one of America's greatest economic and political thinkers as well as a distinguished public servant in three national administrations, a breakthrough book on the clash between capitalism and democracy.
Mid-twentieth-century capitalism has turned into global capitalism, and global capitalism—turbocharged, Web-based, and able to find and make almost anything just about anywhere—has turned into supercapitalism. But as Robert B. Reich makes clear in this eye-opening book, while supercapitalism is working wonderfully well to enlarge the economic pie, democracy—charged with caring for all citizens—is becoming less and less effective under its influence.
Reich explains how widening inequalities of income and wealth, heightened job insecurity, and the spreading effects of global warming are the logical outcomes of supercapitalism. He shows us why companies, fighting harder than ever to maintain their competitive positions, have become even more deeply involved in politics; and how average citizens, seeking great deals and invested in the stock market to an unprecedented degree, are increasingly loath to stand by their values if it means biting the hands that feed them. He makes clear how the tools traditionally used to temper America's societal problems—fair taxation, well-funded public education, trade unions—have withered as supercapitalism has burgeoned.
Reich sets out a clear course to a vibrant capitalism and a concurrent, equally vibrant democracy. He argues forcefully that the spheres of business and politics must be kept distinct. He calls for an end to the legal fiction that corporations are citizens, as well as the illusion that corporations can be "socially responsible" until laws define social needs. Reich explains why we must stop treating companies as if they were people—and must therefore abolish the corporate income tax and levy it on shareholders instead, hold individuals rather than corporations guilty of criminal conduct, and not expect companies to be "patriotic." For, as Reich says, only people can be citizens, and only citizens should be allowed to participate in democratic decision making.
From the Hardcover edition.
From one of America's foremost economic and political thinkers comes a vital analysis of our new hypercompetitive and turbo-charged global economy and the effect it is having on American democracy. With his customary wit and insight, Reich shows how widening inequality of income and wealth, heightened job insecurity, and corporate corruption are merely the logical results of a system in which politicians are more beholden to the influence of business lobbyists than to the voters who elected them. Powerful and thought-provoking, Supercapitalism argues that a clear separation of politics and capitalism will foster an enviroment in which both business and government thrive, by putting capitalism in the service of democracy, and not the other way around.
About the Author
Robert B. Reich is professor of public policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He last served in government as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. He contributes weekly commentaries to Marketplace on public radio, appears regularly on television, and is a cofounding editor of The American Prospect. In 2003 Reich was awarded the prestigious Václav Havel Foundation Prize for pioneering work in economic and social thought. He lives in Berkeley, California.
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