ECONOMIC POWER FAILURE: The Current American Crisis by Sumner M. -- Ed. Rosen

ECONOMIC POWER FAILURE: The Current American Crisis

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An anthology of opinions on the current economic chaos--from the First National City Bank's squawks about the capital gains tax to Russell Baker's angry picture of old people in despair at the supermarket. Rosen, an economist of wide academic and practical experience, makes no secret of his own radical views; the dominant note here is anti-capitalist and anti-Keynesian. Only the more adamant Marxist contributors regard the failure of Keynesian policies on unemployment and taxation with any sort of equanimity.Most of these authors are appalled by the amoral balancing acts between inflation and unemployment which have been performed by recent Administrations with no effort to alter the terms of the equation through genuine tax reform. These selections cover a broad range of aspects: the future of American markets in Southeast Asia; the contribution of multinational corporations to balance-of-payments problems and the inequities of the domestic tax base; the gravitation of more corporate assets to fewer corporate giants; the fringes of unemployment which don't quite make it into the official statistics. There are some especially Catch-22-ish glimpses of the care and feeding of the big military contractors, who sometimes actually write the Pentagon's requests for proposed hardware which they then fulfill. Perhaps the most startling contribution is a 1974 speech to the Financial Analysts Federation, in which the chairman of the FTC bitterly concludes that in every sector of the economy Federal regulation works to the sole end of reducing competition and driving up prices. Rosen's selection is uneven--some contributions are too drastically condensed to present coherently developed arguments and some subjects are not as thoroughly investigated as others. (The section on oil is particularly sketchy.) But the book as a whole is more impressive than the sum of its parts--rather startling for an anthology. It brings together a great many separate national conundrums whose basic interrelationship is gradually becoming clearer to a perplexed and resentful public.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1975
Publisher: McGraw-Hill