THE SICK SOCIETY: An Economic Examination by Michael Tanzer

THE SICK SOCIETY: An Economic Examination

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In addition to alienation, America's chronic illnesses are racism and ""overseas involvement""; to this theme Tanzer adds a rather self-contradictory version of the standard radical-liberal indictment of ""the corporate economy,"" which Tanzer suggests is now heading for state capitalism of the Nazi variety. In the short run he sees a possibility of economic collapse: though his analysis of the monetary crisis and the domestic ""illiquidity crisis"" are commonplace, this forecast is a distinctive repudiation of Keynesianism. At the same time Tanzer (the economic editor of the Nation) employs the New Left scheme of a ""goods consumerism"" in which capitalism still hires workers even though there is no work to be done, apparently in order to maintain the social system; this creates a form of alienation which ""in its most virulent form. . . affects. . . primarily minorities, intellectuals and students."" The discussion of ""black poverty"" all but excludes the poverty of other Americans, not to mention two billion people in the rest of the world, in whose poverty the U.S. is ""involved."" For the future health of the American dream Tanzer recommends interdisciplinary attempts among social scientists to put things to rights and calls vaguely for democratic socialism, with the hows and whys left out. Readable but ephemeral, Tanzer's radicalism being more a protestation than a genuine analytic position.

Pub Date: July 29th, 1971
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston