Zeroing in on such realms as health care and the workplace, the commercialization of sports and the arts, the chaotic deregulation of airlines, S&Ls, and telecommunications, and the buying and selling of public offices, Kuttner shows how markets can fail precisely those whom they are supposed to serve. Asking the crucial question, "What should not ...
Zeroing in on such realms as health care and the workplace, the commercialization of sports and the arts, the chaotic deregulation of airlines, S&Ls, and telecommunications, and the buying and selling of public offices, Kuttner shows how markets can fail precisely those whom they are supposed to serve. Asking the crucial question, "What should not be for sale?", Kuttner shows why a society conceived as a grand auction block would not be a democracy worth having.
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Publishers Weekly, 1996-11-25 Challenging the prevailing conservative doctrine that an unregulated, self-correcting, free-market economy is the ideal, Kuttner (The End of Laissez-Faire) argues that in a humane society, whole realms of activity necessarily depart from pure market principles because market norms drive out nonmarket normsęcivility, commitment to the public good, personal economic security and liberty. In the workplace, a growing tendency to treat human labor purely as a commodity has led to an increasing polarization of wages, erosion of standards of fairness and greater worker insecurity, he maintains. Overreliance on market mechanisms is ruining the health care system, contends Kuttner, a contributing columnist to Business Week, because of enormous hidden costs engendered by opportunism, fragmentation, underinvestment in public health and prevention, and inefficient use of home care and nursing care. Arguing that deregulation of financial markets leads to offsetting inefficiencies, he casts a skeptical eye on hostile takeovers, junk bonds and derivatives and advocates "stakeholder capitalism" to make shareholders more accountable to employees. In a benchmark for future debate, Kuttner brings, clear, pragmatic thinking to complex, thorny issues, reclaiming a middle ground between champions of laissez-faire capitalism and statism. (Jan.)
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