Greider (Who Will Tell the People, 1992, etc) has looked into the future and determined it won't work to his progressive/populist satisfaction. Indeed, the author foresees rack and ruin if steps aren't taken to deliver the postCold War world from the ravages of what he views as a new, out-of-control industrial revolution. Attempting to go behind the numbers usually used to describe the global economy, Greider draws largely on anecdotal material gathered during extended sojourns in a dozen Asian, European, and North American countries. He provides a dour guide to the ways in which the unrestrained advance of conscienceless capitalism (without an effective challenger since socialism's dramatic demise) could, in combination with the globalization of commerce, lead to overcapacity, glutted markets, superfluous labor, unbridled speculation, recurrent debt crises, social disorder, and worse. Informed by an abiding suspicion as to the ability of free markets to match supply and demand with any consistency, the author first focuses on mutinationals, essentially stateless enterprises that, he warns, are gaining awesome economic power without thoughtful, let alone effectual, oversight. The author next casts a cold eye on institutional investors whose collective trading judgments have on occasion brought the Global Village's largest companies to book and frequently left sovereign governments something less than masters of their own financial houses. For his windup, Greider offers a potpourri of power-to-the-people proposals on how socioeconomic catastrophe might be avoided in the period ahead. He commends such liberal articles of faith as managing trade as a zero-sum game (i.e., with a loser for every winner); redressing the imbalance of returns that separates wage earners from the rentier class; imposing transaction taxes on cross-border flows of capital; obliging firms not only to protect the environment but also to embrace the arguable concept of sustainable development; and creating new forms of labor unions. Politically correct alarmism masquerading as prophetic analysis.
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