Politics and Capital: Auctioning the American Dream
This book is about good government-especially ethical and fair government. Using both theoretical methods and practical political analysis, John Attanasio shows how recent Supreme Court decisions and campaign finance regulations map onto a pernicious and growing inequality in America. He puts forward a novel solution grounded in a new principle of personal autonomy. Looking at the transformation of wealth and political influence in America, this book demonstrates that the defining campaign finance cases such as Buckley v. Valeo and Citizens United have created a new constitutional arrangement that correlates with the dramatic rise in U.S. wealth and income inequality since the 1970s. The book goes on to show that this distorted income allocation has adversely affected demand, which may be spawning American economic stagnation. The solution Attanasio proposes is the principle of "distributive autonomy," sharply contrasting it with the individualism of modern libertarian ideas, which have given rise to the radical inequality that reduces, rather than enhances, autonomy. Good governance must be centrally concerned with the distribution of freedom for all: if my autonomy matters, so does yours. Valuing the autonomy of others is authentic autonomy. Distributive autonomy is necessary to ensure that participatory democracy retains its truly democratic elements, which may be a necessary condition for long-term, prosperous capitalism.A profound synthesis of theory and practice, Politics and Capital is crucial to understanding the ominous political and economic problems besetting twenty-first century America.
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