Restoring Democracy to America

How to Free Markets and Politics from the Corporate Culture of Business and Government

By (author) John F. M. McDermott

Paperback - £24.95

Publication date:

15 December 2012

Length of book:

496 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271037257

If the current economic malaise accomplishes nothing else, it should help awaken us all to the realization that our country has been on a path of self-destructive behavior for several decades—a reversal of the progressive path that had made major gains in economic and political equality for a large majority of the U.S. population starting in the 1870s. It is John McDermott’s purpose in this ambitious book to explain why that reversal happened, how society has changed in dramatic ways since the 1960s, and what we can do to reverse this downward spiral.

In Part 1 he endeavors to lay out the overall narrative of change from the 1960s to the present, emphasizing how a novel social structure came to be developed around corporate America to form what he calls “corporate society.” Part 2 analyzes what the nature of this corporate society is, how it is a special type of “fabricated” structure, and why it came to dominate society generally, eventually including the government and university systems, which themselves became increasingly corporatized. The aim of Part 3 is to outline a path of reform that can, if all its parts can be integrated sufficiently to be effective, put us on the path to restarting the progressive movement.

Restoring Democracy to America both diagnoses the current stalemate and analyzes the roots of dysfunctional democracy from the 1870s, and especially after the 1960s, to today. This is a pertinent topic given bailouts, lobbyist power, gridlock, global warming, growing income disparities, and the general public’s discouragement with both parties. A great strength of McDermott’s book is his concrete proposals, requiring deep but possible reform for restoring a non-elitist participatory democracy—a government in which the electorate is not isolated from the decisions being made by big institutions that negotiate change with the government as equals. The book is written in the vernacular, and the problems and the proposals for reforms are novel and provocative.”

—Rosalyn Baxandall, The College at Old Westbury, SUNY