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One World Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism Paperback – February 10, 1998
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Greider successfully illustrates the struggle between labor and capital: Organized labor's power to control wages and working conditions, which has traditionally been grounded in its ability to limit the supply of workers, has been decimated by the mobility of capital. In a global market, there will always be workers willing to accept a lower wage as opposed to no wage. As this Awage arbitrage@ forces earnings down, the middle class with disposable income will slowly disappear. Grader's argument of the economic model looks carefully at the demand side of the equation and asks -- who will buy the surplus if there is no middle class with disposable income? Capital driven by profits and quick returns at all costs are ignoring the fundamental relationship. Labor needs capital for income, and capital needs labor's income for profits and growth.
Greider also illustrates a breakdown in American democracy: A government no longer run by the people, but by big business, which makes government the broker of deals that only serves to further breakdown our domestic economy in the interest of the free-market.
I also agree with his observations calling the prose energized, clear, and sharp. However, I disagree with the negative criticism many other critics and reviewers have voiced concerning Mr. Greider's conclusions herein, which seem to center on the fact that he is not an apologist, fellow-traveler, or celebrant of the new global forces. Indeed, Mr. Greider's perspective is more sanguine, expressing concern of the many ways in which this fundamentally anti-democratic new commerce tends toward becoming a revolutionary & extraordinarily well-focused force literally power-hosing the new wealth generated by this commerce in the direction of the rich and well placed at the expense of almost everyone else.
Who can argue against the observation that we increasingly face an amazing conundrum when in face of the greatest sustained period of prosperity in the last forty years many people at the lower reaches of the socioeconomic spectrum are slipping farther and farther behind, that this prosperity is not acting to level the playing field, but, on the contrary is intensifying the distances and qualitative life styles of the affluent and the poor, or with the observation that consistently the indifferent, selfish and affluent conservative Republicans, ignoring the needs and problems of a majority of others, still demand a substantial tax refund for themselves at the expense of the rest of the populace? The truth speaks for itself in the sense that the governments of the world seem either uninterested or unable to regulate, limit, or meaningfully constrain the powers, policies, or dispositions of the multi-national corporations who now produce, distribute, and control the majority of the world's commercial efforts.
These corporations seem to be primarily motivated by motives much less socially responsive or oriented than they are profit-centered. Unless one actually believes in the silly, self-serving and patently ridiculous nonsense about Adam Smith's `invisible hand' of the market place, believing that somehow an unregulated and unconstrained world economy will automatically and magically manage and self-corrrect itself through the countervailing forces of the marketplace (can I sell you some of my old lottery tickets?), one must take heed of the plethora of examples one can readily observe concerning the changes in our social, economic, and political environment that stem from the effects of this new `global economy'.
In summary, Greider argues that the world is headed for a difficult & chaotic set of social & economic circumstances; disastrous levels of industrial plant overcapacity, unmanageable surplus goods, unemployable labor pools, frantic & often irrational stock speculation, unserviceable debts, and chronic massive unemployment. While all may seem to be wonderful to a casual observer watching along the surface, we are in fact skating bravely over the very thin ice of a totally new and revolutionary set of socioeconomic circumstances, and we should hardly be racing across this fragile and frozen expanse so quickly or so recklessly, trusting so blindly in so many anonymous corporate forces that historically have never bothered to concern themselves with the social, economic or political consequences following in the wake of their profit-oriented activities. Given the increasingly random & uncontrollable flow & use of capital, coming to terms with this emerging bulwark of the `new world order' will be increasingly problematic. His conclusions are similar to those of neo-Luddite authors like Sales Kirkpatrick and Theodore Roszak, who have come to similar conclusions about the increasingly serious situation emerging concerning a technical, commercial, and economic world spiraling out of control. In my opinion, Greider's book is a heaven-sent call to arms; the first issued by a mainstream social critic whose argument we would all do well to consider.