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Where America Went Wrong: And How To Regain Her Democratic Ideals (Financial Times Prentice Hall Books) Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Series: Financial Times Prentice Hall Books
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Financial Times Prentice Hall; First Edition edition (May 5, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131430513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131430518
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,832,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

“John Talbott’s call to revitalize American democracy also contains a powerful message for the rest of the world: namely, that democratic governance and the rule of law constitute the key to economic development. It’s a compelling message that deserves the widest possible hearing.”

—Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy
“This is a fascinating and ambitious book. Not everybody will agree with the arguments. But I believe everybody will be challenged and stimulated by them.”

—Daron Acemoglu, Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Clearly written and told with passion and conviction, Where America Went Wrong lays before us a compelling picture of an America that is under siege by corporations, special interests, and the rich and powerful. It is our very future as a democracy that is at stake. The book deserves to be read by everyone who cares about America.”

—D. Quinn Mills, Professor, Harvard Business School

Who believes that America is currently living up to its potential? Is the American government being responsive to its citizens? Are the American and world economies as strong as they could be? Are Americans as happy as they could be? Why has world opinion turned strongly against America?

While the symptoms indicate there is something fundamentally wrong with America, the remedy is very specific—we have lost our democratic tradition. The question for America no longer comes down to Democrats vs. Republicans or liberals vs. conservatives or free-market libertarians vs. anti-globalists, but rather to a simple formulation of the people vs. the elites. Some might argue that such delineation might initiate a class war. Wake up! The class war has already begun.

Something has gone terribly wrong in America. The bastion of democratic freedom in the world is ignoring its own democratic traditions at home and abroad, and the results are immediate and painful. World opinion of America has dropped precipitously. The world economy has stalled, especially in Africa and Latin America. Americans are consuming more and enjoying it less. The world is not at peace.

It is time for Americans and members of the world community who are unhappy to stand up and raise their voices. Elites, big corporations, and special interests have had their failed day in the sun, and now it is time to return America to its people.

The solution is democratic reform. Talbott shows how greater direct democracy can revitalize not just our politics, but our economy as well. Voting rights, constitutional rights, human rights, democratic institutions, a free press, civil liberties, and especially rights to assemble and speak are important not just in the world’s repressive regimes but also in America, which has seen a long erosion of these basic rights so important to her people’s prosperity and individual freedoms.

America’s next great political battle won’t be fought between Democrats and Republicans: it will be fought between elitists and populists. This book begins that battle.

  • Reviving democracy in America: Who stole our country—and how to get it back—or did we just let them take it without a fight?
  • Failing democracy, failing economy: Why a strong American economy requires a strong democracy
  • Corporations are not people: Ending corporate dominance in American politics
  • Big media: Whatever happened to the free press?


About the Author

John R. Talbott is a former investment banker for Goldman Sachs in New York and Visiting Scholar at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. He now writes full time about economics and politics and has published important academic research concerning the role of democratic institutions and a free press in creating and maintaining an environment conducive to economic growth and prosperity in both the advanced and developing world. Talbott has advised a number of developing countries on how they might improve their democratic institutions to garner greater economic growth and defeat poverty.

Talbott’s first book, The Coming Crash of the Housing Market (McGraw-Hill, 2003), is an Amazon.com and BusinessWeek bestseller and accurately predicted the current government supervision problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, America’s largest mortgage institutions. He has appeared on CNN, Fox News, CNNfn, CNBC, CBS Marketwatch, and in print in the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times, and live on numerous nationally syndicated radio programs.




More About the Author

John offers financial consulting advice on a very personal and confidential basis to individuals and families. You can learn more about his One on One consulting activities at www.StopTheLying.com

John R. Talbott is the bestselling author of nine books on economics and politics that have accurately detailed and predicted the causes and devastating effects of this entire financial crisis including, in 2003, The Coming Crash in the Housing Market. In 2004, he correctly identified corporate and banking lobbyists and big corporate money in politics as the major underlying cause of the current crisis with, Where America Went Wrong. In January 2006, he called the absolute peak month of home prices in the US by releasing, Sell Now! The End of the Housing Bubble and warned that the problem was not local, or even national, but international. In 2008, his book, Contagion: The Financial Epidemic That Is Sweeping the Global Economy predicted the subprime mortgage problem developing in the US would mutate and grow and infect not only prime mortgages, but other markets such as the stock market, commercial real estate, the municipal bond market, as well as threaten the solvency of banks and governments around the globe leading to a very long, deep and painful global recession. In 2009, The 86 Biggest Lies on Wall Street exposed the ineptness of the government's response to the crisis and the futility of enacting real reform of Wall Street when Wall Street itself is the biggest lobbyist of our congress.

Formerly, an investment banker for Goldman Sachs and a Visiting Scholar at UCLA's Anderson School of Management, Talbott has written peer reviewed academic research on democracy, inequality, AIDS prevention and developing country economics and has acted as an economic adviser to Jordan and Russia. He has made presentations on economics and politics throughout the United States and in Italy and Australia. He graduated from Cornell's School of Engineering and received an MBA from UCLA. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Herald Tribune, the New Republic, the Huffington Post and salon.com. He has appeared as a financial expert on television for CNN, CBS, Fox News, CNBC, FBN, CSPAN and MSNBC as well as on hundreds of radio programs. Talbott, whose family has lived in Kentucky for 230 years is the son of a career Army officer, is 57 years old, single, an avid college football and basketball fan and lives on the left coast with his faithful companion, Boca Jr., who rarely objects to any of Talbott's writings or politics except when it is time to go for a walk.

The media can contact Talbott at johntalbs@hotmail.com as well as anyone who might be interested in discussing possible speaking engagements. Those interested in learning more about Talbott's one on one consulting service can find information here www.StopTheLying.com

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. Fay on August 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Talbott utilized a commanding understanding of economics and politics to come up with the best solution I have yet to hear or read on how to restore the American democratic ideal, as well as the economy. He explains, in no uncertain terms, how the economy is connected to democracy, and how democracy has been diminished by political leaders, with more than a little push from corporate America. He cites corporations, the affluent wealthy, some interest groups, some academics and a good portion of the media for contributing to the demise of democracy, with their short-sightedness. And they dragged the economy down along with it. This book blows so many whistles, that Talbott is having difficulty promoting it. It's reminds me of when Dr. W. Edwards Deming went to Japan to teach the Japanese about statistical quality control, because nobody in America was interested. His direction shifted the perception of Japanese products from shoddy imitations to one of quality products in only four years. Talbott is up against a similar apathy in America today, nobody wants to take one step back in order get two steps ahead. Yet he has been invited to advise several developing countries. If Americans don't wake up, someone else might pass us by democracy-wise, the way the Japanese did quality-wise, at least for a time. But Talbott's advise comes at a price. Americans have to exercise their constitutional responsibilities! I think it's worth it. But you should read the book and decide for yourself. Let him convince you, as he convinced me! Then let's go save our democracy!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Odd Duck on September 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is an awful book.

Talbott's central thesis - that American politics at present are controlled by special interests and corporate greed - may be accurate in substance if not in degree. Unfortunately, what could have been a very illuminating and useful work about an issue of critical importance to American voters is ruined by misrepresentation and incomplete analysis.

Early in the book, in chapter 2, Talbott begins by establishing the basic tenets of two positions. The first he dubs "the libertarian," a classical liberal, free-market oriented viewpoint (for transparency's sake, a position I agree with on most points). The second he dubs "the anti-globalist," a position that sees a need for increased government control of public goods and the regulation of an economy to best serve all citizens. His description, particularly of the libertarian viewpoint, is complete and accurate if not of great depth. This makes his failure to render the viewpoint accurately through the rest of the book upsetting.

After his solid beginning, Talbott proceeds to attack a strawman. "What is interesting is that libertarians do not like to admit that the free market could not function without government regulation and interference. Who enforces private contracts? The government. Who tries and sentences [...] company exectutives? The government. Who maintains the system of title and property records that the entire private property system is based on? The government." (p. 28) Of course, libertarians actually do believe that government is necessary for exactly the reasons Talbott cites, among others - to protect citizens' rights, including property rights, and to prevent the use of force or [...] in business.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book highlights all the reasons that America is corrupt. It follows the political influence of corporations, lobbies, and the conservative rich. Talbott discusses the corruption of the media and of academic institutions. He then recommends ways that the American people can establish their one person/one vote rights in order to regain the democratic nation that our forefathers once set for us. Talbott includes suggestions for third world countries to establish democratic institutions and how agencies, such as the WTO and the UN, should promote more democracy. America is a wonderful place and Talbott believes that it is slowly becoming more and more corrupt. It is biased only towards the reality of big business squashing the wishes of the general public. I recommend that every hard working American individual read this book and then take action.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Objective on April 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
The six reviews up to this point were written before 2006; before the torrent of corporate greed, dominance of special interests, lack of government oversight and the other baggage of a derailed democracy of which Talbot writes had become apparant to most of us.

If the three negative reviews were written today (early 2009) they would have zero credibility because virtually all of which Talbott has written about has come to pass. He is as much "a prophet in our time" as I have seen.
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