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Plenty of Nothing: The Downsizing of the American Dream and the Case for Structural Keynesianism

Plenty of Nothing: The Downsizing of the American Dream and the Case for Structural Keynesianism Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Business papers today are in a triumphant mood, buoyed by a conviction that the economic stagnation of the last quarter century has vanished in favor of a new age of robust growth. But if we are doing so well, many ask, why does it feel like we are working harder for less? Why, despite economic growth, does inequality between rich and poor keep rising? In this wide-ranging and provocative book, Thomas Palley pulls together many threads of "new liberal" economic thought to offer detailed answers to these pressing questions. And he proposes a new economic model--structural Keynesianism--that he argues would return America to sustainable, fairly shared prosperity. The key, he writes, is to abandon the myth of a natural competitive economy, which has justified unleashing capital and attacking unions. This has resulted in an economy dominated by business.

Palley's book, which began as a cover article for The Atlantic Monthly in 1996, challenges the economic orthodoxies of the political right and center, popularized by such economists as Milton Friedman and Paul Krugman. He marshals a powerful array of economic facts and arguments to show that the interests of working families have gradually been sacrificed to those of corporations. Expanding on traditional Keynesian economics, he argues that, although capitalism is the most productive system ever devised, it also tends to generate deep economic inequalities and encourage the pursuit of profit at the expense of all else. He challenges fatalists who say we can do nothing about this--that economic insecurity and stagnant wages are the inevitable results of irresistible globalization. Palley argues that capitalism comes in a range of forms and that government can and should shape it from a "mean street" system into a "main street" system through monetary, fiscal, trade, and regulatory policies that promote widespread prosperity.

Plenty of Nothing offers a compelling alternative to conventional economic wisdom. The book is clearly and powerfully written and will provoke debate among economists and the general public about the most stubborn problems in the American economy.

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
Ch. 1Debunking Economic Naturalism3
Ch. 2Making Sense of the Economy and Economics14
Ch. 3Plenty of Nothing: An Overview24
Ch. 4The State of the American Dream49
Ch. 5The Logic of Economic Power, Part I: Diagnosing the Problem70
Ch. 6The Logic of Economic Power, Part II: Policies for Prosperity87
Ch. 7The Triumph of Wall Street: Finance and the Federal Reserve104
Ch. 8From New Deal to Raw Deal: The Attack on Government126
Ch. 9Free Trade and the Race to the Bottom156
Ch. 10International Money: Who Governs?176
Ch. 11Structural Keynesianism and Globalization194
Ch. 12Recipe for a Depression202
Epilogue: Ending Economic Fatalism214

Product Details

The Downsizing of the American Dream and the Case for Structural Keynesianism
Palley, Thomas I.
Princeton University Press
Princeton, N.J. :
United states
Economic Policy
Economic Development
Economics - Theory
Keynesian economics
Development - Economic Development
Economics - General
Political Science and International Relations
Publication Date:
46 line illus. 21 tables
9 x 6 in 18 oz

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Plenty of Nothing: The Downsizing of the American Dream and the Case for Structural Keynesianism
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Product details 264 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691048475 Reviews:
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