Wednesday, August 23, 2006

One Market Under God

Not interested in boring book reviews? Here's a cat picture at Cute Overload. (And check back on Sunday for the Super Bowl Baby)

I'm not a fast reader (like some people I'm married to) - After months I finally finished by Thomas Frank. The subtitle: "Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism, and the End of Economic Democracy". Dense. It's basically about Business in the Nineties seen from the outside. (Still time to check out the cat picture.)

But if you ever wondered about the origin of our "capitalism solves everything" dogma - for example, the current nut-case Medicare Prescription Part D program - read this book. If it weren't happening to us it would be pretty funny.

In Frank's own words: "This is a book about the faiths and beliefs of business . . As a faith, as a simple, abiding belief, market populism is capable of answering all doubts and silencing all doubters." (p.98) A religion that businessmen can believe at the office.

(his name links to his homepage) details an intellectual revolution - about how "great thinkers" (mostly authors of Business Management books) managed to convince the nation that democracy occurs at the check-out counter not in the voting booth. Just why did people think that any rich CEO is qualified to be president? And exactly what is a Cult Stud?

With examples from books, magazines and especially advertising Frank shows how completely the revolution was put over on us. The book should include a DVD - I really want to see the 1998 Super Bowl commercial for Oracle which compared that company to the Khmer Rouge (p.173). With other revolutions in the dust, businesses paid for a rewrite of history - with themselves as winners.

One Market Under God deals with a specific decade (the gray nineties) when the stock market would rise for ever. It was before the "War on Terrorism" when there was only one "George Bush". But ideas from back then are still steering the ship of state now - without much notion of how close we're getting to the rocks.

I look forward to reading this authors other books, like

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