The Predator State

Yeah, yeah, it’s a long wandering mess that seems to change focus as much as a bifocaled grandmother. But my cover story on greed and Americans’ changing views of capitalism in the January 1 issue of the Inland Empire Weekly , meant to be a (favorable) review of four recent books on the economy and workings of capitalism, could have stood inclusion of James K. Galbraith’s The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too. Galbraith inflicts significant damage on free-market, Reagan-era ideals and destroys the notion that income inequality is necessary for productivity gains. His point–that liberal politicians still cling to a notion of the free market place as a higher calling (see the section “Another God That Failed”) even as many conservatives have abandoned it–makes an argument against the kind of pragmatism towards free markets that recent Democratic nominees have displayed.  Galbraith’s book is not easily read. It’s not technically difficult but tends to muddle what should be perfectly clear (where have all the good editors gone?). But the facts remain. We need to kill the idea that free markets and unregulated capitalism are perfect systems.  And Galbraith’s reality-based book gives us a weapon to do just that.  —Cabbage Rabbit

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