The thesis of this book is that "the shift from a manufacturing to a service (or post-industrial) economy in the United States has been decisively shaped by finance." People, labor, houses, and bank accounts are now treated as commodities to be bought and sold in the marketplace, which is itself increasingly free of governmental control. In the final chapter, the author outlines several deleterious effects of this shift: "less mobility, more inequality"; "educational insecurity"; "the end of the corporate safety net"; "dangerous financial services"; and "the brain drain from government to contractors." The author believes that New Deal-like policies are needed to fulfill the state's obligations to its citizens.
To be perfectly honest, this book was a hard slog reading, not because the author is clear and precise, but because many of the financial concepts and sociological observations are a bit out of my ken. It was also hard to read because I'm politically on the right while this book is center-left or left. So, to me at any rate, some of the diagnosis and prognosis seems wrong, although I don't know that I could argue against it.
At any rate, given the deep mess our country is in economically, and despite my reservations about this book, I think it's worth reading.
While the marketing and timing of this book's appearance may suggest that it explains the current economic meltdown, Gerald Davis's real aims are more general: to outline and explore the implications of a major shift in the world's economies (with emphasis on the United States), from a corporate-centered model to a finance-centered model, from an America whose economic and social life is dominated by major corporations and where individuals think of themselves as employees and consumers of goods, … more