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Failure by Design: The Story behind America's Broken Economy (An Economic Policy Institute Book) Hardcover – January 11, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: An Economic Policy Institute Book
  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: ILR Press; 1 edition (January 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801450152
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801450150
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,095,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Bivens succeeds at exposing the 'cracked foundation' of the economy . . .: falling wages, assaults on unionism, globalization for workers and insulation for elites, the rise of the nonproductive financial sector, and the abandonment of full employment as a policy target. In graph after carefully and simply explained graph, Bivens walks the reader through the historical trajectory of these and other economic developments that have come to define the current situation."—Cecilio Morales, America (29 August 2011)



"In this useful and timely work, Bivens provides an assessment that will clarify for many the widely held view that the current 'great recession' need not have occurred but rather was due to government policy errors. These included minimum wage erosion by inflation; weakening of laws governing unions and collective bargaining; globalization that benefitted the already privileged; and slow growth of wages and income at the middle of the income distribution . . . . Summing up: Highly recommended."—Choice (January 2012)

About the Author

Josh Bivens has been an economist at the Economic Policy Institute since 2002. He is the author of Failure by Design: The Story behind America's Broken Economy and coauthor of The State of Working America, 12th Edition, both from Cornell.



Lawrence Mishel is the president of the Economic Policy Institute and its research director from 1987 to 1999. He is the coauthor of every edition of The State of Working America.


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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By E. West on May 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It's an easy read and worth reading. The title is quite accurate. It's failure in the sense that for the large majority of the population there has been essentially no progress, even though there's been substantial wealth produced. The economy itself is far less productive than it ought to be. Production for what people need is far less. It's of course been a spectacular success for a tiny portion of the population, a tenth of 1 percent knocks the distribution off the international scales. It's a class-based failure that's by design. That's the crucial fact. There have been and still are other options available. Things don't have to happen like this. I think there's just been a steady buildup of concern, anger and frustration. You can see it in polls. Hatred of institutions and distrust is all over the country, and it's been rising for a long time. The Occupy movement managed to capture the mood and crystalize it. That's the way popular movements take off.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By CB on August 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book because I heard Noam Chomsky recommend it in an interview, and frankly it looked short and sweet.

I was wrong.

About 50% of this book is actual pages, the other 50% is charts. This isn't inherently bad, but the 50% of pages are pretty useless, and only the charts have substance, thus one would be better off looking at economic trends, and unemployment charts on google, or the publishing groups website.

The premise of the book is that our levels of inequality, unemployment, off-shoring of capital, housing bubble, etc, were all results of intended policies. Except the author never establishes this. He simply reiterates the effects, without explaining the cause. Probably because Keynesians are terrified of touching upon class, and theories of surplus value. This would be anathema to them, but undoubtedly would actually address the issues of who designed the economy, and why they designed it this way - leading to more inequality - and not the Keynesian way - also riddled with inequality, but more 'tolerable' to the well to do. So the book fails to deliver on its own title. Moreover, the author is convinced the problems of capitalism, like all Keynesians, can only be rectified by more capitalism, with tweaks and regulations. He does not see the inherent contradictions of the capitalist system, nor the contradictions of class interest and structure. Thus, his solutions are momentary and piecemeal, and not of substance.

If you want to read 50 different charts on why the economy is getting objectively and ethically worse since around the 1970s, buy this book. If you want to read a Keynesian rant for 50 pages on how increased government spending is panacea, read this.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The outcomes attributed to the statistics are obvions to all but entrenched ideologues who will dispell them as they do anything contrary to what they believe. The évidence that what we are living is attrbutable to the policies put in place over the past thirty years plus are however evident to rational minds. We reap what we sow. That the authors have chosen to break with tradition and advance their learned elaboration of what the numbers reveal when such will offend the power brokers who have crafted and fueled the design and implementation of the system that has come to be is an act of courage that reflects their love of and concern for the wellbeing of the American people. A refreshing, simple to read exposé of what is what. The authors are to be congratulated. Let's hope it leads to system design changes in the best interest of " we the people ".
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0 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Christian128 on June 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a one-sided view of American economics which will play well to the "occupy" movement and those who share the views of the liberal, Keynesian, policy makers of the left. No one who truly understands the causes of our current economic issues and how to correct our past and current failures will be pleased with having wasted hard earned money for the purchase of this book.
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