62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Henwood describes the state we're in,
This review is from: After the New Economy (Hardcover)
Doug Henwood announced this book (his follow-up to "Wall Street") back when the so-called New Economy was still around.
Those of us who read his Left Business Observer newsletter waited impatiently for over five years.
It was worth the wait. Henwood starts off just where you'd expect --- poking fun at the Internet revolutionaries, the intellectual
frauds who claimed the US economy had reached a new age.
Then he gets into the numbers. Oh man, does he have numbers. Chapters two and three are all about productivity, income, and
wealth. He gives you a few statistics, he explains what they mean, and then he tells you that the numbers can't be trusted. (He has a habit of saying, "What does this all mean? Honestly, no one knows. But I'll make an educated guess.") This kind of
humility is rare among economists. He forces you to form your own opinion about the accuracy of the numbers and their
Despite the constant caveats, a clear picture emerges. The US economy is deeply integrated into the world economy, with Third
World patterns of wealth and worker control developing right here in the First World. Although the US is still more comfortable
than, say, Colombia, it's falling behind countries like Belgium and France. Divisions of wealth, a pathetic social safety net, and weak unions keep an overworked, low-paid, insecure workforce in their place.
Then he turns to globalization. This chapter has a few problems. Henwood likes cosmopolitanism --- the social form of
globalization. And he says the international economy has been around for over a century, so we shouldn't treat it like something new. Then he picks a handful of people who don't represent the anti-globalization movement --- people from Earth First and self-appointed experts such as David Korten --- and uses their crazy quotes. But it turns out that he agrees with the
anti-globalization protesters on most issues. So why does he take this approach? Because the anti-globalization activists are using the wrong name for their movement.
That might sound like a petty basis for a chapter in a book about the New Economy. And it is.
Then he gets back on track. He finishes with a brilliant chapter on finance. Picking up where he left off in his previous book, he
shows that economists don't care how international investment or the stock market *really* works. He describes crooked stock
analysts, corrupt CEOs, and disciples of the "broadband future." He quotes former World Bank economist Joseph Stiglitz
saying that the IMF can't avoid programs that bankrupt Third World countries because bankruptcy isn't in their computer
By the time you're done with this book, you'll want to read it again. It's packed with small, easily-understandable charts. The
writing style is very good --- Henwood sounds like he's sitting next to you, talking to you about economics at your level. I highly
recommend After the New Economy to anyone who cares about the current state of work and money in the world.