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The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too Hardcover – August 5, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Galbraith begins by noting that our economic discussion is based on a fallacy--that free markets and competition govern our economic sphere. This idea is now the dominant view of how an economic system ought to function in the United States. He goes on to say that (Page xi): ". . .the doctrine serves as a kind of legitimation myth--something to be repeated to schoolchildren but hardly taken seriously by those on the inside." The guiding metaphor for this book, a predatory state, is outlined early on by Galbraith. He says that this refers to (Page xiii): "the systematic abuse of public institutions for private profit or, equivalently, the systematic undermining of public protections for the benefit of private clients."
He develops this thesis, beginning with a first chapter entitled "Whatever happened to the conservatives?" He begins by noting the elements of the Reagan revolution (or Reaganomics as it was then termed)--(1) tax reduction to trigger investment and economic growth; (2) tight money to halt the inflation that had sapped the energy of the economy; (3) deregulation and assaults on unions, to, once more, let market forces rule. He goes on to argue that, first, this perspective did NOT achieve what its supporters allege, and, second, that contemporary conservatives have in essence abandoned these principles to "take over" the government and use that power to enhance the interests of the moneyed and powerful class.Read more ›
What an interesting book. The American Economy was in a much different state when I began reading this book (early Sep 2008) than when I finished it (late Oct 2008). I think what I learned from this book has helped me think about possible solutions for our economic meltdown.
Here are some points from Galbraith's (yes, Kenneth's son) book. I'll give indication of my opinions on his ideas as well.
I have a full review on my blog (do a Google Blog Search for Predator State).
Galbraith says that liberals who are for the following things should reverse their thinking: balanced budgets, free trade, open markets / monetary policy, tax cuts and the importance of savings. (Hey, that's me!!)
He attacks each idea with an obvious depth of economic prowess and an even more obvious bias towards true-blue liberal thinking.
His argument against balanced federal government budgets is perhaps his most compelling. He provides a simple equation that shows that the U.S. federal government (unlike all other countries) is positively incapable of balancing its budget and should not even try. To do so results in pain for consumers and business in the U.S. Galbraith actually won me over on this point.
The equation is that the U.S. must run a budget deficit each and every year or else private industry and consumer will have to run deficits themselves. The deficits we run collectively (government plus industry plus consumer) MUST equal our countries total trade deficit. And the U.S.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the most well and gracefully written, carefully reasoned, and significant economics books written in a long time. A must for anyone concerned about the current trade deals. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Joseph M. Firestone
The real challenge and possibility of our economy is a choice between hope and fear. Galbraith spells out the bottom line of these two options and charts a path to reach the high... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Barry Flicker
Published a few months before Obama's election, this book by a well-known economist is remarkable in how well it foresaw events of the following 7 years. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Paul
Galbraith once again tells it like it is. Though many people would just as soon that he not do so. Pure enlightenment for those with an open mind.Published 20 months ago by Shadows
Excellent book - loved it. It should be read by all Americans because it is one of the few economic books out there that defends the traditional post 1920's America. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Carroll D. James