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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2013
This is a highly important book, the best single book for understanding the structural powers and maladjustments of the American economic system. It is highly accessible and will be of great interest to both non-economic-specialized readers and professional economists. This book has functioned brilliantly as secondary reader in my principle of macroeconomic courses and as a reader at the graduate level. It is well written, the articles are short, the organization of the book in three sections develops common threads and themes all of which help to understand the American economic system, both its strengths and its pathologies.

In the last several years Rick Wolff has published books, produced documentaries, given public interviews, hosted a radio show, and delivered lectures (widely available online) explaining that the crisis of 2007-8 was not unexpected. Rather the crisis of 2007-8 was both predictable and predicted by himself and others; the American economic system has been working against the majority of the public, benefiting the wealthy minority; socio-economic crisis is imminent to the capitalism; and the capitalistic system is dysfunctional and corporations rather pathological institutions. Capitalism is indefensible as a democratically determined system.

In this volume Rick Wolff has written a series of short and highly accessible articles. The dates of these articles go back to 2005 and are now updated to current political and economic events. He provides a blow by blow account of the ensuing crisis and it's after math. There is no other volume that offers the same theoretical and practical analysis accessible to non-specialist readers and citizens.

Wolff demonstrates the argument of "austerity" is non-sense and does economic violence to the majority of citizens. Likewise the Bush and Obama administrations debates about financial regulation and fiscal stimuli are pathetic political distractions of what real needs to be addressed, namely the extraction of wealth and profits from working Americans to the financial, managerial, and politically powerful.

Wolff argues the watershed moment of the crisis of 2007-8 was rooted in events of 1970s. It was during this time that real wages for American workers became stagnant, credit from banks extended to American households, financial institutions greatly empowered, and economic/financial risk shouldered by individuals.

Wolff began chronicling the instability of the system and the injustices of distribution in Monthly Review as early as 2005. These articles are the basis of his book. From there Wolff demonstrates that the American economic system, either with intervention and regulation (the liberal approach) or without intervention and regulation (the conservative approach) capitalism is prone toward both financial/economic crises and economic stagnation and illicit distribution.

In the third and last section of the book, Wolff argues in a series of articles shows that the political response has been inadequate. Economic literacy of American citizens is low, Wolff aims to elevate our understanding of the crisis and chronic political economic injustices of the American capitalist economic system.

This is a must read!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2013
Richard Wolff is a brilliant and insightful economist. I am pleased to see this updated second edition. His analysis of the drastic economic inequality we are facing today, how we got here, and how this is contributing to a growing economic mess is spot on. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding the weak fundamental structures on which our ailing economy is based and how reverberations are likely to affect the rest of the world in ways we have never experienced before, which will have a boomerang effect and come back to hurt us even more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2014
This is deep reading and deep thinking but certainly a true look at capitalism. He calls it as it is and lays the blame where it belongs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2014
Outstanding! It is essential reading for anyone of conscious who wants to make this country a better place by moving beyond capitalism.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2013
A unique perspective that should be considered in helping to solve our nations economic issues. It is an approach which would allow our nations leaders to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions going forward.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2014
Essential for those who wants to understand the consequences of the unregulated capitalism.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2015
If you are Socialist leaning Richard is your Man,He gives one the Poop on what is stifling the Economy,and guess What it's NOT the Poor
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2014
should be required read in schools
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2014
I can't wait to start this book. If you can't see whats going on in Washington D.C. and Wall Street you're blind, and even then you'd see the writing on the walls. It's all up for grabs.
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7 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2013
I like reading discussions of alternatives to our our economic and political system, and this book certainly accomplishes that. The author is clearly on the Marxist side of things. I don't think he has ever run so much as a gas station, though. His views on how workers should control the businesses in which they work is incredibly naive. In one of the chapters, he states that workers should work Mondays through Thursdays and then spend Friday afternoons making management decisions on how to run the company. Maybe that approach could work in a simple small shop in the 18th century, but for a several thousands of staff, computer-assisted, industrial factory in the 21st century? I don't think so. And he thinks (says it, in fact) that all these hundreds of thousands of businesses will be coordinated at the national level by a super efficient Federal government agency. Mind you, I am no Tea-Party friend, but not even Franklin Roosevelt envisioned that level of government control and administration over businesses.
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