Supercapitalism: The Battle for Democracy in an Age of Big Business by Robert Reich - review by Allister Heath

Allister Heath

No Free Lunch

Supercapitalism: The Battle for Democracy in an Age of Big Business

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When I first opened Robert Reich's book, I was expecting a predictable attack on the market economy, reflecting the views now commonplace among the Democratic Party's leading intellectuals. But I needn’t have worried: Reich, a professor at Berkeley and Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, is far too sophisticated an economist ever to write a simplistic knocking job.

While his central conclusion – that capitalism needs to be reined in through increased regulation and taxation – is flawed, his book is nevertheless the most original and honest criticism of the status quo that I have read for a long time.

His basic thesis is twofold: since the late 1970s, a combination of factors has turbo-charged the global economy, intensifying competition and leading to a different, more cut-throat yet also much more efficient economic system. But the reverse is true of America’s democratic institutions. Unlike corporations, they have become increasingly sclerotic

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