Plenty of Nothing: The Downsizing of the American Dream and the Case for Structural Keynesianism by Thomas I. PalleyPlenty of Nothing: The Downsizing of the American Dream and the Case for Structural Keynesianism by Thomas I. Palley

Plenty of Nothing: The Downsizing of the American Dream and the Case for Structural Keynesianism

byThomas I. Palley


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Business papers today are in a triumphant mood, buoyed by a conviction that the economic stagnation of the last quarter century has vanished in favor of a new age of robust growth. But if we are doing so well, many ask, why does it feel like we are working harder for less? Why, despite economic growth, does inequality between rich and poor keep rising? In this wide-ranging and provocative book, Thomas Palley pulls together many threads of "new liberal" economic thought to offer detailed answers to these pressing questions. And he proposes a new economic model--structural Keynesianism--that he argues would return America to sustainable, fairly shared prosperity. The key, he writes, is to abandon the myth of a natural competitive economy, which has justified unleashing capital and attacking unions. This has resulted in an economy dominated by business.

Palley's book, which began as a cover article for The Atlantic Monthly in 1996, challenges the economic orthodoxies of the political right and center, popularized by such economists as Milton Friedman and Paul Krugman. He marshals a powerful array of economic facts and arguments to show that the interests of working families have gradually been sacrificed to those of corporations. Expanding on traditional Keynesian economics, he argues that, although capitalism is the most productive system ever devised, it also tends to generate deep economic inequalities and encourage the pursuit of profit at the expense of all else. He challenges fatalists who say we can do nothing about this--that economic insecurity and stagnant wages are the inevitable results of irresistible globalization. Palley argues that capitalism comes in a range of forms and that government can and should shape it from a "mean street" system into a "main street" system through monetary, fiscal, trade, and regulatory policies that promote widespread prosperity.

Plenty of Nothing offers a compelling alternative to conventional economic wisdom. The book is clearly and powerfully written and will provoke debate among economists and the general public about the most stubborn problems in the American economy.

Thomas I. Palley is Assistant Director of Public Policy (Economics) at the AFL-CIO and the author ofPost-Keynesian Economics: Debt, Distribution, and the Macro Economy.
Title:Plenty of Nothing: The Downsizing of the American Dream and the Case for Structural KeynesianismFormat:PaperbackDimensions:264 pagesPublisher:Princeton University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0691050317

ISBN - 13:9780691050317

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Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables


Ch. 1 Debunking Economic Naturalism 3

Ch. 2 Making Sense of the Economy and Economics 14

Ch. 3 Plenty of Nothing: An Overview 24

Ch. 4 The State of the American Dream 49

Ch. 5 The Logic of Economic Power, Part I: Diagnosing the Problem 70

Ch. 6 The Logic of Economic Power, Part II: Policies for Prosperity 87

Ch. 7 The Triumph of Wall Street: Finance and the Federal Reserve 104

Ch. 8 From New Deal to Raw Deal: The Attack on Government 126

Ch. 9 Free Trade and the Race to the Bottom 156

Ch. 10 International Money: Who Governs? 176

Ch. 11 Structural Keynesianism and Globalization 194

Ch. 12 Recipe for a Depression 202

Epilogue: Ending Economic Fatalism 214

Notes 215

References 223

Index 229

Editorial Reviews

"Thomas I. Palley has written an important book in a clear and persuasive style. He understands the economic plight of working American families. He explains what caused that plight and what can be done about it. . . . His analysis is rigorous. His conclusions are correct. His policies are the right stiff. He discusses the kind of family policy we need for the next millennium."---William M. Dugger, Review of Social Economy