The Economics of Innocent Fraud: Truth for Our Time Hardcover – Import Apr 2004
Product Description Amazon.com Review John Kenneth Galbraith has been immersed in economics for most of his long and remarkable life. The purpose of this extended essay is to illuminate examples of "innocent fraud" or the gulf between perception and reality in the modern American economic system--a system he had a hand in creating during his tenure in FDR's administration. Though tackling serious subjects the book sparkles with wit and sly understatement. "A marked enjoyment can be found in identifying self-serving belief and contrived nonsense" he writes clearly enjoying himself. The dominant role of the corporation in modern society is one such form of innocent fraud and he explains how managers hold the real power in our system not consumers or shareholders as the image would suggest. Despite the "appearance of relevance for owners" capitalism has given way to corporate bureaucracy--"a bureaucracy in control of its task and its compensation. Rewards that verge on larceny." He also explains how the public realm is effectively controlled by the private sector. The arms industry is but one example of this: "While the Pentagon is still billed as being of the public sector few doubt the influence of corporate power in its decisions." He also looks at the financial world which "sustains a large active well-rewarded community based on compelled but seemingly sophisticated ignorance" and in particular the Federal Reserve System "our most prestigious form of fraud our most elegant escape from reality." In essence Galbraith says that the Fed for all of its power and prestige effectively does nothing. And he has little problem with this: "Let their ineffective role be accepted and forgiven." Both a guide to the present and an aid to shaping the future this slim satisfying book is a font of wisdom conventional and otherwise from a respected elder statesman in the twilight of his life. -- Shawn Carkonen From Booklist Galbraith renowned economist explains how economics and larger economic and political systems cultivate their own version of the truth. These "frauds" do not connect to reality and although legal and not criminal they reflect social and personal beliefs run amuck. He observes the notion that shareholders rule corporations when the power is now with managers. Labeling capitalism a market system makes the consumer appear to have sovereignty yet the reality is that the market is subject to well-financed skilled and comprehensive management of the public response both in politics and consumerism. The economic and social dominance of big business is accepted and the distinction between the public and private sectors has no meaning as corporate power extends to politics and government. In reality corporations dominate our military public finance and the environment. As a prominent antiwar advocate Galbraith believes war is a decisive human failure. This thought-provoking book will have wide appeal including those whose politics and views differ from the author's. Mary Whaley Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved See all Product Description
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