Supercapitalism

June 20th, 2008 Big Issue, Books & Publishing

In the postwar years, Reich asserts, industry was so regulated and planned there was little incentive to innovate. After that, he claims the explosion in everything from consumer choice to CEO salaries was the result in an economy unshackled by regulation and inflamed with a new, unrelenting drive to maximise shareholder returns — a new paradigm he calls ‘supercapitalism’. The result is a world where we have endless power and choice as consumers but next to none as citizens.

Supercapitalism is twice as long as it needs to be, Reich repetitively labouring his points. More importantly, it’s simply nothing we don’t already know. The almost mathematical approach (like the economics of how high-priced lobbyists have crowded democracy out of government) is academically sound, but Reich also sounds like an angry old man out of touch with the world, condemning movies as ‘more lurid and gorier than ever’ and dismissing the Internet as ‘a virtual repository of filth’.

Well researched and measured but an ultimately useless rant that’s 15 years too late. 3/5


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