Book  in  Focus
 
The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too, New York: The Free Press in August, 2008, in hardcover.
 

Synopsis

The cult of the free market has dominated economic policy-talk since the Reagan revolution of nearly thirty years ago. Tax cuts and small government, monetarism, balanced budgets, deregulation, and free trade are the core elements of this dogma, a dogma so successful that even many liberals accept it. But a funny thing happened on the bridge to the twenty-first century. While liberals continue to bow before the free-market altar, conservatives in the style of George W. Bush have abandoned it altogether. That is why principled conservatives -- the Reagan true believers -- long ago abandoned Bush.

Enter James K. Galbraith, the iconoclastic economist. In this riveting book, Galbraith first dissects the stale remains of Reaganism and shows how Bush and company had no choice except to dump them into the trash. He then explores the true nature of the Bush regime: a "corporate republic," bringing the methods and mentality of big business to public life; a coalition of lobbies, doing the bidding of clients in the oil, mining, military, pharmaceutical, agribusiness, insurance, and media industries; and a predator state, intent not on reducing government but rather on diverting public cash into private hands. In plain English, the Republican Party has been hijacked by political leaders who long since stopped caring if reality conformed to their message.

Galbraith follows with an impertinent question: if conservatives no longer take free markets seriously, why should liberals? Why keep liberal thought in the straitjacket of pay-as-you-go, of assigning inflation control to the Federal Reserve, of attempting to "make markets work"? Why not build a new economic policy based on what is really happening in this country?

The real economy is not a free-market economy. It is a complex combination of private and public institutions, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, higher education, the housing finance system, and a vast federal research establishment. The real problems and challenges -- inequality, climate change, the infrastructure deficit, the subprime crisis, and the future of the dollar -- are problems that cannot be solved by incantations about the market. They will be solved only with planning, with standards and other policies that transcend and even transform markets.

A timely, provocative work whose message will endure beyond this election season, The Predator State will appeal to the broad audience of thoughtful Americans who wish to understand the forces at work in our economy and culture and who seek to live in a nation that is both prosperous and progressive.

Review

"Shows how to break the spell that conservatives have cast over the minds of liberals (and everyone else) for many years." -- Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences (2001)

"James Galbraith elegantly and effectively counters the economic fundamentalism that has captured public discourse in recent years, and offers a cogent guide to the real political economy. Myth-busting, far-ranging, and eye-opening." -- Robert B. Reich, Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley

"With a combination of erudition, insight, and wit worthy of John Kenneth Galbraith, Thorstein Veblen, and John Maynard Keynes, James K. Galbraith offers a critique of the conventional unwisdom about the economy that is as compelling as it is provocative." -- Michael Lind, Whitehead Senior Fellow at The New America Foundation and author of The American Way of Strategy

"James Galbraith has written an extremely challenging book. Although its principal target is conservative economics, it is no less critical of conventional liberalism. Galbraith correctly recognizes that today both approaches are intellectually bankrupt and incapable of addressing the nation's pressing economic problems. I hope The Predator State stimulates needed debate among both liberals and conservatives on the mistakes both sides have made that have gotten us to where we are now."-- Bruce Bartlett, author of Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy

 

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#1 Amazon Non-Fiction Bestseller, October 25, 2008

Book reviews and interviews for The Predator State
  • Thomas Frank's recent comment on The Predator State on 10/7 WJS could be found here.

  • James Galbraith's recent interview with McClatchy on his book The Predator State could be found here.

  • James Galbraith's The Predator State is in NYT Book Revew (Paperback Row) on July 24. Check here.

  • A review of The Predator State in the Shanghai Daily, April 10, 2009, may be found here.
  • A fine review of The Predator State in French could be found here.
  • The Nation puts The Predator State one of the most valuable progressives of 2008. Check here for more details.
  • USA Today ranks The Predator State as one of the best books of Year 2008. Check here for more details.
  • John Judis puts The Predator State on his Crisis of '08 Reading List. Check here for more details. 
  • James Galbraith's book talk and current politics on Morning Joe, on Nov. 13, 2008, can be found here.
  • The Predator State hit #32 on the New York Times Non-Fiction best-seller list this week. Check here.
  • James Galbraith's lecture at the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School in New York on the evening of October 20, on The Predator State and on the financial and economic crisis can be found here.
  • James Galbraith's lecture 10/27 at Chapman University on The Predator State can be found here. (Internet Explorer only)
  • Listen to James Galbraith's talk at the Texas Book Festival, November 2, 2008 here. The Q&A is here.
  • James Galbraith was interviewed with Bill Moyers about the causes of the economic crisis and his new book. Check here.
  • Ben Friedman's review of The Predator State is in the current New York Review of Books. Check here.
  • The New York Times has a review of The Predator State, September 28, 2008, here.
  • The Silicon Valley Metro published a review of James Galbraith's The Predator State on September 25, 2008. For more, check here.
  • The Washington Post has a brief review of The Predator State, September 14, 2008, here.
  • Kathleen Dunn of Wisconsin Public Radio interviewed James Galbraith on The Predator State on August 20, 2008. The program can be heard here.
  • The Predator State was reviewed in USA Today on September 7, 2008. Check here for more details.
  • An excerpt of The Predator State was published in the Texas Observer on September 5, 2008. Check here.
  • Talking Points Memo devoted a full week (Aug. 11 ~ Aug. 18) to discussion of The Predator State, with comments from Sidney Blumenthal, Maggie Mahar, Mike Lind, Susan Feiner, Max Sawicky, Tom Palley and Jonathan Taplin. Check it out here.
  • James Galbraith's interview on Weekly Signals concerning his new book, The Predator State, can be found here.
  • James Galbraith's interview on WILL AM (Champaign-Urbana) concerning his new book, The Predator State, can be heard here.
  • James Galbraith delivered a commentary on The Predator State on Public Radio International's Marketplace on August, 7th, 2008. For more details, click here.
  • The Austin American Statesman published a review of James Galbraith's new book "The Predator State" on August 3rd, 2008. For details, see here.
  • Reuters published a review of James Galbraith's new book "The Predator State" on July 24th, 2008. For details, see here.
  • Kevin Horrigan quoted "The Predator State" in St. Louis Post-Dispatch on July 20th, 2008. For details, see here.