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Failure by Design: The Story behind America's Broken Economy (An Economic Policy Institute Book) Hardcover – January 11, 2011
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"Bivens succeeds at exposing the 'cracked foundation' of the economy . . .: falling wages, assaults on unionism, globalization for workers and insulation for elites, the rise of the nonproductive financial sector, and the abandonment of full employment as a policy target. In graph after carefully and simply explained graph, Bivens walks the reader through the historical trajectory of these and other economic developments that have come to define the current situation."―Cecilio Morales, America (29 August 2011)
"In this useful and timely work, Bivens provides an assessment that will clarify for many the widely held view that the current 'great recession' need not have occurred but rather was due to government policy errors. These included minimum wage erosion by inflation; weakening of laws governing unions and collective bargaining; globalization that benefitted the already privileged; and slow growth of wages and income at the middle of the income distribution . . . . Summing up: Highly recommended."―Choice (January 2012)
About the Author
Josh Bivens has been an economist at the Economic Policy Institute since 2002. He is the author of Failure by Design: The Story behind America's Broken Economy and coauthor of The State of Working America, 12th Edition, both from Cornell.
Lawrence Mishel is the president of the Economic Policy Institute and its research director from 1987 to 1999. He is the coauthor of every edition of The State of Working America.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›