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A leading social critic recounts capitalism’s finest hour and shows us how we might achieve it once again.
In the years surrounding the Second World War, a serendipitous confluence of events created a healthy balance between the market and the polity—between the engine of capitalism and the egalitarian ideals of democracy. Yet, from the 1970s on, a power shift occurred in which financial regulations were rolled back, taxes were cut, inequality worsened and disheartened voters turned to far-right, faux populism.
Robert Kuttner lays out the events that led to the post-war miracle and charts its dissolution all the way to Trump, Brexit and the tenuous state of the EU. He asks whether today’s poisonous alliance of reckless finance and ultra-nationalism is inevitable, and whether democracy can find a way to survive.
“Kuttner brilliantly brings together two strands of thought: explaining both the economics and politics of global capitalism and how our society has abandoned core principles of fairness and equality. The rise of inequality helped pave the way for Donald Trump—a figure out of step with basic American values. Kuttner reminds us of the urgency with which we need to get back to a more just society” — Joseph E. Stiglitz, Columbia University, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and best-selling author of The Price of Inequality
“Conventional wisdom has it that our income disparities and dysfunctional politics are the consequence of inexorable and uncontrollable developments in technology, market competition, and globalization. As Robert Kuttner argues in this superb book, they are instead the result of our own policy choices.” — Dani Rodrik, Harvard University and author of Straight Talk on Trade and The Globalization Paradox