Monday, September 13, 2010

Wealth And Democracy, by Kevin Phillips

I highly recommend Kevin Phillips' book Wealth and Democracy. He compares our current (well up to 2001) financial dive with similar falls in 17th Century Netherlands, 18th Century Spain, and 19th Century England. It's a useful historical review. It's also jam-packed with interesting historical tidbits about US economic history. Here's my favorite quote:

"The peril of any utopianism, of course, is how it suspends rationality and pursues a dream. In the case of millennial American conservatism, the political dream, for all its responsiveness to the tangible self-interest of rich constituencies, has been the illusion of markets as potential parliaments rather than descendants of carnivals, as rational decision-makers rather than precarious litmuses of human nature." (p. 371)