Promises to keep : a call for a new American revolution /

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Main Author: Goodwin, Richard N
Format: Book
Published:New York : Times Books, c1992
Edition:1st ed
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Review by Choice Review

Goodwin wants to form a "new movement for democratic capitalism," and calls for "revolutionary" changes in a system whose basic values are sound, but which has been degraded over the last 20 years as a result of corporate greed and governmental gridlock. His analysis of the current political and economic crisis provides no new insights, but repeats the standard liberal-left arguments concerning the paralysis of decision making in Washington and the damage done by misguided and shortsighted corporate elites. His solutions? Citing Jefferson's call for a revolution every 20 years, he prescribes campaign spending restrictions, term limitations on elected officials, and "sunset" laws for bureaucracies. Rejecting "conventional remedies" and "tinkering" with the economic system, he argues for changes in corporate management practices, worker participation, restrictions on mergers, and a modest industrial policy. He decries racism and increasing income inequality, suggesting a revised Model Cities program. Perhaps this sounds revolutionary to Bill Clinton, who describes this volume as "extraordinary and brilliant." For those to the right of Clinton, however, all this will seem like nostalgia for 1960s-style big government. For those to the left, his program for an "American restoration" will appear laughably inadequate. If our problems are as serious as Goodwin thinks they are, it will take more than warmed-over liberalism to solve them. Undergraduates; general. M. Engel; Westfield State College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Goodwin, an adviser to presidents Kennedy and Johnson and an architect of the latter's Great Society programs, here joins the chorus of voices demanding fundamental reform of our democratic capitalist system. His agenda for renewal calls for converting military industries to production of civilian commodities, revamping the tax code to eliminate maldistribution of income, granting workers greater participation in management decisions, overhauling lax regulatory agencies, and enacting new laws to prohibit unproductive mergers and leveraged buyouts. Goodwin sees both Democrats and Republicans as mired in corruption and beholden to vested interests. He advocates an enormous reduction in campaign spending and demands free, equal TV time for all office-seekers. He would dismantle the ghettos, rebuild devastated urban areas and establish residential work and training programs for young people in inner cities. All of this, he forewarns, would mean higher taxes. A populist manifesto geared to an intellectual audience, this succinct essay sets forth a visionary, if seemingly impractical, plan to revitalize our ailing economy. Author tour. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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