I have recently discovered two excellent books about the depths of trouble our nation has gotten into. Both are concise, VERY blunt (and informed) about our social dysfunction as a result of our economic system (especially over the past 45 years), and yet still hopeful about the possibilities of change:
1) What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk about the Next American Revolution, by Gar Alperovitz (April, 2013). I have just finished this book by this well known political economist, and in addition to documenting our nation’s social troubles, he offers a really detailed agenda(s) for a progressive transition from a wealth-dominated economic system to a form of economic democracy, community by community, or region by region, with the increasing chances of a national revolution (peaceful) in our mode of operating.
2) America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy, by James Gustave Speth (2012), environmentalist, professor of law, and long time player in the fields of ecology and international development. I am only about a fourth of the way through this book, so my review of necessity is less well grounded than that of the Alperovitz work at this point. He, as with the latter, graphically portrays our social/economic sickness, but he also adds a great deal of information about the ecological dangers we are getting into, nationally and globally. Like Mr. Alperovitz, he offers a series of prescriptions for economic and political change, and he provides some solutions that are immediately feasible, and some that will require a much more radical transformation, when circumstances allow – and demand – it.
I heartily recommend these concise (under 200 pages) books, which are both challenging to any complacency AND optimistic in terms of where we as a nation can be going if we the people want to badly enough!
I am grateful that such well informed and creative observers, activists and writers such as Messrs. Alperovitz and Speth are “in the water” with the rest of us during these challenging, yet hopeful times.