The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy
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In his previous bestsellers, Who Will Tell the People and Secrets of the Temple, William Greider laid bare the inner workings of American politics and the Federal Reserve, revealing how they often work against the interests of the majority. Now, in The Soul of Capitalism, Greider examines how the greatest wealth-creation engine in the history of the world is failing most of us, why it must be changed, and how intrepid pioneers are beginning to transform it.
Public outrage over crooked corporate officers, the looting of pension funds, the defrauding of stockholders, and the wholesale firing of hardworking employees has reached a new high. But Greider argues that our anger has deeper roots, as he analyzes how our relentless pursuit of unprecedented affluence has eroded family life, eaten away at our sense of personal and professional security, corroded our communities, impoverished our spiritual lives, and devastated our natural environment. The solution, he contends, will come not from activist government, the politics of the past, or more government regulation (the usual response of liberals), but from a fundamental realignment of power that, he promises, is already under way on many fronts.
The Soul of Capitalism shows us where to find the leverage for changing the system. Reformers appear in surprising variety, from conservative business managers to small-town civic leaders, social agitators and ecologists, labor leaders and farmers. Greider offers many up-and-running examples -- of workers becoming owners, of pension funds withdrawing their capital from polluters, of small companies learning how to operate profitably while caring for employees and the environment, of governments reforming their public works.
Brilliantly perceptive and sweeping in its ambition, The Soul of Capitalism is also hardheaded and practical as one of our most eloquent populist spokesmen assures us why we are not powerless. Greider illustrates how American capitalism can be aligned more faithfully and obediently with what people want and need in their lives, with what American society needs for a healthy, balanced, and humane future. He proves that it is within our power to reinvent capitalism to make it work for us.
The Soul of Capitalism -- solid, pragmatic, visionary, optimistic -- addresses the nation's most urgent needs.
it may be too late). Only that kind ofbottom -up exploration, Chris Mackin explains, could overcome conflicting obligations and create an agenda for genuine change. By inherited tradition, many labor leaders are indifferent or hostile to ownership on the grounds that it would confuse their bargaining positions and possibly undermin e the fighting fervor of their members at contract time. So they stick with the "us against them" approach, which implies a lim89 THE SouL OF CAPITA LISM ited
stock prices, CalPERS (the California Public Employees' Retirement System) owned $171 billion in assets. TIAA-CREF (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-C ollege Retirement Equities Fund) held $273 billion. New York State's employee pension fund had around $124 billion. Florida's had $106 billion. In many instances the trustees include elected public officials like the state treasurer or comptroller and, in some cases, trustees elected by the employees. These overseers are naturally more
just from the assembly-line workers, but from engineers, sales people, clerks and chemists and middle managers. They sense, correctly in many cases, that the folks in charge don't really understand how things work inside the company, or much care. Their insecurity and resentmen t-their sense of disenfranch isement-ar e intangible byproducts of modern finance. The "market for capital control" has introduced a blind force into their lives capable of destabilizing their workplace with harsh new
effluent comes out, and fish above the mill where they never were before." The KPS objective, nonetheless, is delivering a splendid return on capital for its investors. Business investments are full of risks; no promises made. But, if things go well, KPS might be expected to "exit" its ownership in four or five years and sell its 55 percent stake to the stock market or other investors, including the employees. "When a firm like ours invests $35 million, our target objective is to compound the
still too much for the American political system to swal172 Consuming th e Future low, particularly given relentless industry resistance. The right wing, allied with and aided by corporations, belittles the protection of ecosystems, wetlands, and forests as a matter of aesthetic taste and not relevant to human well-being. Industry scientists throw up doubts about every new advance. The existing regulatory laws are riddled with exemptions and malleable language, so the standards are vulnerable