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America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy, 2nd Edition 2nd Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0984785704
ISBN-10: 0984785701
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gar Alperovitz, Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, is cofounder of The Democracy Collaborative. He is a former fellow of the Institute of Politics at Harvard and of King's College at Cambridge University, where he received his PhD in political economy. He has served as a legislative director in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and as a special assistant in the Department of State. Earlier he was president of the Center for Community Economic Development, Codirector of The Cambridge Institute, and president of the Center for the Study of Public Policy. Dr. Alperovitz's numerous articles have appeared in publications ranging from The New York Times and The Washington Post to The Journal of Economic Issues, Foreign Policy, Diplomatic History, and other academic and popular journals. His previous books are America Beyond Capitalism (a new edition of which appeared in 2011), The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, published in 1995, the 2002 book, Making a Place for Community: Local Democracy in a Global Era (with Thad Williamson and David Imbroscio), and the 2008 book Unjust Deserts (with Lew Daly).

James Gustave "Gus" Speth is the former dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, founder and president of the World Resources Institute, and cofounder of the Natural Resources Defense Council. He has also been administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, chair of the U.N. Development Group, professor of law at Georgetown University, and chair of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality in the Carter administration. He currently teaches at Vermont Law School, and is a senior fellow at the Democracy Collaborative where he is co-chair of the Next System Project. He is also distinguished senior fellow with Demos, associate fellow with the Tellus Insitute, and the recipient of numerous environmental awards. His previous books includeAmerica the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy, and the award-winningThe Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability andRed Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Democracy Collaborative Press / Dollars and Sense; 2nd edition (November 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984785701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984785704
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
First published prior to the housing collapse, financial crisis, and great recession, this book was originally years ahead of its time. At a time of relative (or perhaps perceived) prosperity, it predicted longer term economic pain and political stagnation (2nd ed.; pp. 6-7); At a time of relative (or perhaps perceived) social tranquility and political lethargy, it anticipated popular upheavals and political realignment (2nd ed.; p. 8 & 236); At a time when inequality was generally ignored or considered an acceptable byproduct of a successful economy, it used the language of 2011's "Occupy Movement" to criticize a system in which "the top 1 percent now garners for itself more income each year than the bottom 100 million Americans combined," (2nd ed; p. 1) and proposed a new model "based on the judgment that greater equality, greater individual economic security, greater amounts of free time, and--upon this basis--the reconstitution of a culture of common responsibility are ultimately required if we are ever to reorient our community and national priorities in general" (2nd ed; p.234); At a time when most were focused solely on political change at the top (replacing President George W. Bush), it explicitly identified as its central argument the belief that the early years of the 21st century would involve a serious debate about systemic questions and that actual events would open the space for a bottom-up movement towards eventual systemic change (2nd ed; p.234); And critically, when such efforts were not seriously considered in mainstream discourse, it identified an expanding set of community wealth building and democratizing initiatives as possible building blocks for the next system (2nd ed; part II).Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
The year 2004 has seen a heartening upswing in progressive activity, largely in response to the abuses of the Bush Administration at home and abroad. But whichever way the election turns out, all those who care about progressive values have some difficult questions to ponder: why, in spite of our best efforts, do things seem to be getting worse, not better, on so many fronts, from environmental destruction to runaway consumerism to heightened poverty to international violence?

Gar Alperovitz has had his eye on the bigger picture for a long time, and in "America Beyond Capitalism" he shares with us a hopeful yet hard-headed vision of what a dramatically reformed political economy might look like, a political economy which could reinforce, not undermine, democratic aspirations. In the process, he encourages liberals and progressives to see beyond the obvious and depressing fact that mainstream liberalism in the U.S. is a spent political force, and recognize other promising avenues for bottom-up change, such as the emergence in the last 30 years of a slew of grassroots-based democratic econoimc alternatives.

But this book is much more than just cheerleading for progressives. It also makes a major intellectual contribution by tackling the fundamental structural issues that a healthy 21st century democracy must confront: the question of scale and the proper locus of political authority; the question of wealth inequality and who controls our vast technological inheritance; the question of time and how we might convert productivity gains into greater free time; deep-seated gender inequalities that are reinforced by our current organization of work and space; and perhaps most difficult of all, the question of how to achieve ecological sustainability.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Boy, oh boy, do we need this book? The Left, it seems, has been in headlong retreat - politically, ideologically, and intellectually - for decades now, with the end of the postwar boom, the fall of Communism in the East and the (still unfolding) crisis of Social Democracy in the West, accompanied by a full-blown counterattack by capital. We are all familiar with the results: falling wages, the energy crisis, recession, the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, the "financialization" of capital, the Third World debt crunch, the decline of organized labor, cutbacks in social provision, downsizing and global restructuring, deregulation, privatization, and the sorry tale of a quarter-century's political and ideological swing to the right. What's left of the "official" Left (American liberalism, the rump of the European social democratic movements whose leaderships sold out long ago to become the craven servants of power) is - at best - still splashing away far downstream from where the real action is, seeking a way forward among the muddy puddles of 'tax-and-spend' transfer policies and modest redistribution left behind by the high tide of Keynesianism and the welfare state. The antiglobalization movement may have brought with it some renewed sense of energy and hope that "another world is possible," but often seems to lack any convincing comprehensive vision of what an alternative political-economic system might look like.

Into this valley of ashes steps Gar Alperovitz with a vital new progressive vision and a realistic politics of how to get there. Better known as a historian and author of the definitive book on the decision to use the atomic bomb, Alperovitz is also a distinguished political-economist, and this is obviously where his heart really lies.
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