Synopses & Reviews
In this timely book, Charles Derber argues that the current regime - the American system of corporate control born two decades ago and now led by President Bush - is destroying the American dream by outsourcing millions of jobs, turning American employment into a ""one-night stand,"" undermining the security that created the American middle class, and turning the forces of law against citizens. The book outlines specific strategies, including how to approach 2004 and how to move the country in a new direction over the long term. Part I discusses the history of the corporate regime and the damage it has done to American workers and the country. Part II examines the bad faith at the heart of the regime today, and why it must resort to wars of deception to survive. Part III looks at 2004 and battling Bush as a step toward regime change. Part IV lays out a vision and strategy for regime change over the long haul.
"The titular anti-war quip gets inflated into a world system in this feisty but glib left-populist manifesto. Sociologist Derber pegs the current era as a 'third corporate regime' successor to the New Deal regime that succumbed to Reagan's presidency that subsumes both Republicans and Democrats. Its 'five pillars' are the dominance of transnational corporations; the corporate-welfare state; permanent 'social insecurity' featuring an unstable job market and shredded government safety nets; a foreign policy of 'empire'; and an ideology of 'the corporate mystique,' a combination of free-market triumphalism and consumerism. Derber uses this scheme to organize a broad but sketchy critique of familiar left-wing targets like globalization, Bush's tax policies, the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act and media consolidation. As the regime contains the seeds of its own destruction in the form of growing inequality and debt, Derber anticipates a change to a 'New Democracy' regime, spearheaded by 'social movements,' that will extend Roosevelt's New Deal, humble the corporations and guarantee good jobs and health care to all. Writing in a punchy, buoyant style, with sidebars on 'Corporate Superpowers' and profiles of downsized workers, Derber mixes classic populist motifs from Ralph Nader, Michael Moore and Hegel: the co-optation of the state by monied interests, the corruption and sameness of politicians, nostalgia for a now-trampled Constitution, and an oppressive sense that our lives are being marketed to us. Unfortunately, his assumption that America's pro-business tilt is an alien imposition by corporate elites rather than a reflection of deeper convictions and conflicts within the body politic is too simplistic, as is his vision of a big tent of liberals, conservatives, libertarians, leftist radicals, rust-belt workers, 'software geeks' and the odd fundamentalist somehow burying their differences to overthrow it." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Praise for People Before Profit: ""A provocative and stimulating work, directed to issues of the highest significance.""
Derber argues that the current regime is destroying the American dream by outsourcing millions of jobs, turning American employment into a ""one-night stand,"" undermining the security that created the American middle class, and turning the forces of law against citizens.