THE AVERAGE MAN FIGHTS BACK by David with Richard Hall Hapgood


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This sequel to Hapgood's amiably lowbrow The Screwing of the Average Man (1974) opens with a nifty addendum to the economists. Hapgood introduces the concept of ""net screwing"" computed as ""the difference between the individual's gains at the expense of society and others' gains at his expense."" It is Hapgood's gut feeling that Joe Schmo is getting wise to the con jobs of ""experts""--and herein lies hope for the beleaguered average man. Everyone agrees that the pie is shrinking; hence the credibility of experts is declining--witness the rise of legal clinics, no-fault insurance, do-it-yourself divorces and probates, Nader, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). All are alerting citizens to the noncompetitive price-fixing of the ""guilds."" Recently even torpid regulatory agencies have begun to balk at collusive practices that inflate the cost of everything from divorces to prescription drugs. ""Worst-buy"" manuals are becoming available for insurance policies; the ABA has been forced to allow its members to advertise; even tax reformers have made headway and ""loopholes can no longer be drilled in the dark."" Hapgood doesn't confront the basic issue of whether these palliatives to Mr. Schmo's economic plight will avail against recent drops in real wages. His faith in the consumer movement is such that he sees it as a harbinger to real challenges of the economic system. Though Hapgood is wildly overoptimistic, as an antidote to current disaster-forecasters this is a bracing, witty tonic.

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 1976
Publisher: Doubleday