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Palley's book, which began as a cover article for The Atlantic Monthly in 1996, challenges the economic orthodoxies of the political right and center, popularized by such economists as Milton Friedman and Paul Krugman. He marshals a powerful array of economic facts and arguments to show that the interests of working families have gradually been sacrificed to those of corporations. Expanding on traditional Keynesian economics, he argues that, although capitalism is the most productive system ever devised, it also tends to generate deep economic inequalities and encourage the pursuit of profit at the expense of all else. He challenges fatalists who say we can do nothing about this--that economic insecurity and stagnant wages are the inevitable results of irresistible globalization. Palley argues that capitalism comes in a range of forms and that government can and should shape it from a "mean street" system into a "main street" system through monetary, fiscal, trade, and regulatory policies that promote widespread prosperity.
Plenty of Nothing offers a compelling alternative to conventional economic wisdom. The book is clearly and powerfully written and will provoke debate among economists and the general public about the most stubborn problems in the American economy.
Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: United States Economic policy 1981-1993, United States Economic policy 1993-2001, United States Economic conditions 1981-Keynesian economics