AMERICA, INC.: Who Owns and Operates the United States by Morton & Jerry S. Cohen Mintz

AMERICA, INC.: Who Owns and Operates the United States

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A rundown on private power as abused by big corporations and abetted by the American government, with the emphasis on 'big' -- the top 200 companies and their injuries to our health, wealth, safety, and exercise of choice. In form the book is a rather disorganized catalogue of case histories, with some familiar emphases -- giveaway subsidies, oil depletion allowances, the crimes of the drug and auto industries, regulatory agencies' aid to regulated industries, the collusion and corporate control of politicians from the Eisenhower to the Nixon administrations. Drawing on Cohen's experience as chief counsel to the Senate Anti-Trust and Monopoly Subcommittee, what the authors add to this dossier is a denial that big means more efficient, more technologically advanced, etc.: a sound stress on the role of banks as both owners and operators of the economy; a survey of merger mechanisms and promoters; and recommendations for introducing ""robust competition"" through federal charters of corporations, tougher standards, etc. The authors' belief that big corporations can do what they please is unqualified by reference to the current recession and specific large bankruptcies; they also bypass the subject of the war industry. They exhibit no historical consciousness even of the narrow issue of anti-trust. They don't take their prescriptions seriously, or try to sort out the ill effects of economic concentration per se from the ill effects of advanced capitalism. They address themselves to middle-class consumers, saying nothing about corporate labor policies except for the ""danger"" of conglomerate unions arising, though the book indirectly challenges the theory of wage-push inflation. Among the range of muckraking books from Nader and Pearson to Domhoff and Lundberg, it makes a relatively ambitious attempt to show the. shape and direction of the whole political economy; but its accomplishment remains chiefly compilation rather than analysis.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1971
Publisher: Dial