Do What Works and Call it Capitalism Dan Riker’s book on Progressivism

This book is not yet published.

Sometime in the last 35 years Horatio Alger finally died. Getting ahead by working hard no longer is possible for millions of Americans. They work hard, but they don’t get ahead. Many of today’s young people view the “American Dream” – that everyone here has a fair opportunity to pursue life, liberty and happiness – as an unachievable relic of a distant past.

What is going to break the gridlock in government and restore the vibrancy of the American dream? DO WHAT WORKS AND CALL IT CAPITALISM shows how progressives saved capitalism from destroying itself – and the American democracy – in the past, and how they can do it again.

The United States today has the greatest disparity of wealth and income in its history. Sixty percent of the jobs lost in the Great Recession were good-paying middle class jobs, but those types of jobs have represented only 22 % of jobs created since 2007. Far more new jobs are at the minimum wage, or close to it. The cost of a college education – now more important to future earnings than ever before – has increased more than 500% since the mid 1980s, more than three times the rate of inflation.

While these issues are well-known, widely discussed, and the subject of many books and articles, with many ideas for solutions, what makes DO WHAT WORKS AND CALL IT CAPITALISM different is that it shows that the political gridlock preventing solutions can be broken with a new era of progressive government, and how that can be achieved.

DO WHAT WORKS AND CALL IT CAPITALISM is a book of 111,000 words, with extensive notes, charts and graphs, an Index and Bibliography. It describes the current economic and political issues and then analyzes the development of American democratic capitalism, the issues it presented in the past and the responses to them, as well as the counter-revolution initiated by Ronald Reagan not halted by his successors. It cites many of the relevant major works of economics, history and political science, including the best-selling work of economics in 2014, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

Piketty’s thesis is that the increasing concentration of income and wealth is going to continue and eventually threaten democratic institutions. The only solution he proposes is a global tax on wealth, which he acknowledges will be difficult to achieve. DO WHAT WORKS AND CALL IT CAPITALISM shows that if progressives gain control of government, many other solutions could substantially reduce inequalities, preserve democratic institutions and create enormous opportunities for widely shared economic prosperity. Its analysis of the contemporary political situation, voting patterns and demographic trends shows promise for progressives if they organize from the ground up, choose strong candidates and offer the people clear alternatives to the destructive Republican policies. Strategies for winning elections also are discussed. The book ends with a “Core” progressive program, including some that are original to this work.

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