Robert Kuttner is a co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect and a professor at Brandeis’s Heller School. His forthcoming book is Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?
 (December 2017)

Follow Robert Kuttner on Twitter: @rkuttner.

IN THE REVIEW

The Man from Red Vienna

Leo Popper, Karl Polanyi, and Michael Polanyi, circa 1908

Karl Polanyi: A Life on the Left

by Gareth Dale
What a splendid era this was going to be, with one remaining superpower spreading capitalism and liberal democracy around the world. Instead, democracy and capitalism seem increasingly incompatible. Global capitalism has escaped the bounds of the postwar mixed economy that had reconciled dynamism with security through the regulation of finance, the empowerment of labor, a welfare state, and elements of public ownership. Wealth has crowded out citizenship, producing greater concentration of both income and influence, as well as loss of faith in democracy. The result is an economy of extreme inequality and instability, organized less for the many than for the few.

Why Work Is More and More Debased

President Obama at the Costco store in Lanham, Maryland, where he gave a talk on raising the minimum wage, January 2014

The Fissured Workplace: Why Work Became So Bad For So Many and What Can Be Done to Improve It

by David Weil

Private Equity at Work: When Wall Street Manages Main Street

by Eileen Appelbaum and Rosemary Batt
In mid-May, The New York Times reported on appalling labor conditions in the construction of NYU’s new satellite campus in Abu Dhabi. NYU said it had a commitment from both the government of Abu Dhabi and the contractor, the BK Gulf corporation, that workers would be treated decently. But the …

The Debt We Shouldn’t Pay

Debt: The First 5,000 Years

by David Graeber
In 22 percent of America’s homes with mortgages, the debt exceeds the value of the house. Young adults begin economic life saddled with student debt that recently reached a trillion dollars, limiting their purchasing power. Middle-class families use debt as a substitute for wages and salaries that have lagged behind the cost of living. This private debt overhang, far more than the obsessively debated question of public debt, retards the recovery.