The Predator State — James Galbraith

I love the fact that The Economist refers to him as “Jamie”. Which might be a common name for him in the economic community, but as someone who spent the last three weeks trying to figure out principles of supply side economic policy while reading his book, I think that’s a bit familiar.

His book is both an update to his father’s “The Industrial State” and a primer for idiots like me on where the economy has gone so very wrong in the last century. He looks at a few points in illustrating his overall thesis, boiling down to the fact that conservatives have generally abandoned laissez-faire/free market economics and only pay it lip service to allow them to hide what they’re really up to and this lack of reality in economic policy keeps us front getting anything done. Also, corporations are diametrically opposed to any public interest and have done everything they can to subvert the government to those ends—and progressives need to wake up before it’s too late to change the path we’ve been on.

The overall conclusion is that we need to put sensible regulation in place to support progressive public policy, which is a bit of a “Duh!” at this point in the game.

Reading this book made me realize how much a “jack of all trades, master of none” I really am when it comes to any variety of intellectual activity, reading this for the last few weeks made my brain hurt in a variety of ways and I still don’t feel like I learned anything with any depth—and I usually like to pretend I’m not a complete idiot.