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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Managed by the Markets: How Finance Re-Shaped America » User review

Not an easy book to read

  • Jun 18, 2009
  • by
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.

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More Managed by the Markets: How Fi... reviews
review by . October 24, 2009
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, …
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George Paul Wood ()
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I'm happily married to a maximally perfect woman, and we have a baby cuter than which none can be imagined. For a living, I'm the Director of Ministerial Resourcing at AG HQ in Springfield, MO. … more
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This academic analysis of our evolution from an industrial to a postindustrial portfolio society offers provocative clues for anyone seeking to understand the current financial crisis and Americans' financial security. Davis, professor of management at the University of Michigan, asserts that in the eras of financial capitalism (1900–1930) and managerial capitalism (1930–1980), Americans looked to the corporation and long-term savings to provide them with security. In the wake of the takeovers and financial move to high risk savings in the 1980s, and deregulation and corporate scandals in the late 1990s, however, Americans have become disillusioned with the corporation as a source of lifetime employment and retirement capital and have instead relied on financial markets for security and wealth creation. In describing George W. Bush's ownership society, Davis notes that when individuals come to see themselves as free agent investors, the consequences for society can be dire. While a compelling read, this book offers few predictions for the new investor society, suggesting only that big government might have to clean up the mess that individual Americans have made.(May)
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ISBN-10: 0199216614
ISBN-13: 978-0199216611
Author: Gerald F. Davis
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

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"Not an easy book to read"
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