Customer Reviews: Failure by Design: The Story behind America's Broken Economy (An Economic Policy Institute Book)
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on May 1, 2012
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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on August 2, 2012
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. If you think maybe the environment should take precedence to economic growth and expansion, as I do, leave a bag of flaming dog poo on this authors door. Where will Keynes be when we expand over every last drop of life in our dwindling ecosystem? Where we'll all be too. Dead.
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on March 5, 2014
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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on May 8, 2016
Important information and perspective for critical analysis of our current economic conditions.
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on June 15, 2012
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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