×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Downsizing The U. S. A.
     

Downsizing The U. S. A.

by Thomas H. Naylor
 
In this trenchant analysis of American society, the authors take an unabashed stance against the belief that 'bigger is better' and warn that size and technological complexity are not risk free.

Overview

In this trenchant analysis of American society, the authors take an unabashed stance against the belief that 'bigger is better' and warn that size and technological complexity are not risk free.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Legions of Americans, stalled in traffic jams or holding for the next available customer representative on the telephone, will agree with this book's central thesis: big is bad. The coauthors of The Search for Meaning, an economist and a theologian, espouse "an abiding trust in the local, the specific, and the small as opposed to the universal, the general, and the large." The point is hardly original. Nineteenth-century sociologists analyzed the functions and problems of bureaucracy, and wrote nostalgically about the small, intimate primary group in an increasingly secondary group society. Here the bigness problem is applied to our major social institutionsthe economy, the city, the educational system, religion and the statewith inexact plans for downsizing each. Secession of states from the union and cities from states, is likewise not original as a solution, as the tragedy of the Civil War illustrates. In the 1960s the hippies advocated dropping out and forming tribes, a similar if less-developed idea for downsizing. Boxed quotes to support the theme are so numerous they become almost as important as the writing. Covering 2000 years in equally varying contexts, these asides suggest erudition but often mean nothing, like Robert Burns' "The best laid plans of mice and men...," offered without explanation, or, like Robert Frost's "Good fences make good neighbors" used conversely to Frost's point about mindless tradition. The book is like going back to college, listening to compelling liberal professors, then realizing back in the dorm that the real world throws up hurdles that the academics never addressed. (July)
Library Journal
Duke University professors Naylor (emeritus, economics) and Willimon (Christian ministry) here prescribe smallness in everything, from business to the military to healthcare to education, then finally to the United States itself. Despite extensive quoting from their previous work (e.g., The Search for Meaning, LJ 2/1/94), they offer little evidence that bigness is bad or how smaller entities are better; instead, they argue from anecdote and assume that readers will agree with such premises as "Urban crime is out of control because our cities are too large." The authors build up to the conclusion that the United States should allow secession of individual states. Provocative but unconvincing.A.J. Sobczak, formerly with California State Univ., Northridge

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802843302
Publisher:
Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
Publication date:
07/24/1997
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
0.67(w) x 6.00(h) x 9.00(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews