From Publishers Weekly
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 Reagans 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, Bushs 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 Roosevelts 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 Americas 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.
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Praise for People Before Profit: ""A provocative and stimulating work, directed to issues of the highest significance.""