In This Review

Beyond the Waste Land: A Democratic Alternative to Economic Decline
Beyond the Waste Land: A Democratic Alternative to Economic Decline
By Samuel Bowles, David Gordon, and Thomas Weisskopf
Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1983, 465 pp

The waste is in unemployment, low-productivity jobs, unused capacity, overmanned management, defense spending, and the costs of shoring up a corporate power structure that is under attack at home and abroad. The authors, who are able economists, do a good job of torpedoing some common explanations for America's economic troubles and develop some ingenious statistical analyses that will not go unchallenged. The "democratic economy" with which they would replace all this mess would provide higher consumption, higher investment, more leisure, better pay, and more participation by people in the shaping of their own affairs. Unfortunately, the prescriptions for achieving these desiderata are none too persuasive and make big assumptions about how people will work in a new social order and what will result from a high degree of public control over investment.