What Then Must We Do?: Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution

What Then Must We Do?: Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution

by Gar Alperovitz


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What Then Must We Do?: Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution by Gar Alperovitz

Never before have so many Americans been more frustrated with our economic system, more fearful that it is failing, or more open to fresh ideas about a new one. The seeds of a new movement demanding change are forming.

But just what is this thing called a new economy, and how might it take shape in America? In What Then Must We Do? Gar Alperovitz speaks directly to the reader about where we find ourselves in history, why the time is right for a new-economy movement to coalesce, what it means to build a new system to replace the crumbling one, and how we might begin. He also suggests what the next system might look like—and where we can see its outlines, like an image slowly emerging in the developing trays of a photographer's darkroom, already taking shape.

He proposes a possible next system that is not corporate capitalism, not state socialism, but something else entirely—and something entirely American.

Alperovitz calls for an evolution, not a revolution, out of the old system and into the new. That new system would democratize the ownership of wealth, strengthen communities in diverse ways, and be governed by policies and institutions sophisticated enough to manage a large-scale, powerful economy.

For the growing group of Americans pacing at the edge of confidence in the old system, or already among its detractors, What Then Must We Do? offers an elegant solution for moving from anger to strategy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781603585040
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Publication date: 04/16/2013
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 282,223
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Gar Alperovitz, Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, is cofounder of The Democracy Collaborative. He is a former fellow of the Institute of Politics at Harvard and of King's College at Cambridge University, where he received his PhD in political economy. He has served as a legislative director in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and as a special assistant in the Department of State. Earlier he was president of the Center for Community Economic Development, Codirector of The Cambridge Institute, and president of the Center for the Study of Public Policy. Dr. Alperovitz's numerous articles have appeared in publications ranging from The New York Times and The Washington Post to The Journal of Economic Issues, Foreign Policy, Diplomatic History, and other academic and popular journals. His previous books are America Beyond Capitalism (a new edition of which appeared in 2011),The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, published in 1995, the 2002 book, Making a Place for Community: Local Democracy in a Global Era (with Thad Williamson and David Imbroscio), and the 2008 book Unjust Deserts (with Lew Daly).

Table of Contents

A Note About What Can Be Talked About, and in What Ways ix

Introduction xi

Part I The System Problem

1 How to Detect a System Problem Without Really Trying 1

2 But Hasn't What We Normally Call Politics Done What Needs to Be Done in the Past? 6

3 Flies Number Two and Three in the Traditional Theory of Politics 11

4 The Fading Power of Traditional Politics 17

Part II Systems Old and New: Evolutionary Reconstruction

5 A Note About Systems and History and Prehistory: And Also About Just Plain Useful Change 25

6 An Initial Way to Think About System Change 28

7 Quiet Democratization Everywhere 35

8 Worker Ownership Redux 41

9 Cultural and Ideological Hegemony, Utopia-and Us 46

Part III "Checkerboard": Emergent Municipal and State Possibilities

10 How the Conservatives Buried Adam Smith: And What It Might Mean for Us 51

11 Everyday Socialism, All the Time, American-Style 58

12 Checkerboard Strategies, and Beyond 65

Part IV Hot Spots: Banking, Health Care, and Crisis Transformations

13 Banking 75

14 Health Care 83

15 Beyond Countervailing Power 89

16 Bigger Possibilities and Precedents: For Something, One Day, Possibly Even More Interesting 93

Part V Narrow-Minded Efficiency, Public Enterprise, and All That

17 Public Enterprise Redux I: And Just a Bit More on the Use and Misuse of "Efficiency Talk" 99

18 Public Enterprise Redux II: Airline Foolishness and Endless Growth 104

Part VI The Emerging Historical Era

19 The Emerging Historical Context: And Why It's Critical to Your Theory of Change and Your Strategy 113

20 Two Dogs That Are Unlikely to Bark Again 119

21 Stagnation and Punctuated Stagnation 124

22 The Logic of Our Time in History: And What That Means for the Next American System 130

Part VII Conclusion

23 The Prehistory of the Next American Revolution: Toward a Community-Sustaining System 139

Afterword 148

Acknowledgments 157

Notes 161

Index 197

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What Then Must We Do?: Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Mybookreview More than 1 year ago
Provides numerous examples of viable, proven alternatives to the entrenched and harmful corporate capitalism model now dominating economic and social systems. Fact-based, easy to read and inspiring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book doesn't make much sense. The author identifies several problems that the US currently faces, and then he simply assumes that large corporations are the cause of those problems. He offers no, or largely unconvincing, rationale for his assumptions. He ignores the vital role that corporations have played in providing Americans the standard of living they currently enjoy. His proposals are confusing but he apparently thinks ownership of corporations should simply be turned over to their employees. It's hard to think that companies like Apple, Facebook, Microsoft etc. would ever have existed under such a scheme. This seems like a huge step backwards that would create far more problems than it would solve. The book totally ignores these new problems that his proposal would create.