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The Quiet Coup

Published : Saturday, 15 June, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 785

The Quiet Coup

The Quiet Coup

Mehrsa Baradarans "The Quiet Coup: Neo-liberalism and the Looting of America" is a powerful and intelligent exploration of how neoliberal policies have systematically dismantled the American middle class, transferring wealth and power to a small elite at the expense of the broader population. Baradaran, a professor of law specialising in banking and financial law, brings her expertise to bear on a topic that is both timely and crucial, offering readers a comprehensive analysis of the forces shaping economic inequality in contemporary America.

The book begins by tracing the historical roots of neo-liberalism, a term that describes a political and economic philosophy advocating for free-market capitalism, deregulation, and reduction in government spending. Baradaran argues that since the late 1970s, neoliberal policies have been implemented to promote efficiency and growth, but in reality, they have led to widespread economic disparities. The author meticulously charts the rise of neo-liberalism, pinpointing key moments and policies that have contributed to the current state of financial affairs.

One of the books major strengths is Baradarans ability to demystify complex economic concepts and policies, making them accessible to a broad audience. She explains how deregulation in the financial sector, tax cuts for the wealthy, and the weakening of labour unions have all played a role in concentrating wealth at the top. By weaving together detailed historical analysis with clear explanations, Baradaran paints a compelling picture of how these policies have failed to deliver on their promises and have actively harmed most Americans.

Baradarans analysis is not merely academic; it is deeply human. She includes numerous anecdotes and case studies that illustrate the real-world impact of neoliberal policies on everyday Americans. From families struggling to make ends meet despite working multiple jobs to small businesses being crushed by corporate giants, Baradaran highlights the personal toll of economic inequality. These stories add a poignant dimension to her argument, reminding readers that behind every statistic and policy decision are real people whose lives have been irrevocably changed.

The book is also notable for critiquing the political establishment on both sides of the aisle. Baradaran does not spare either major political party from criticism, arguing that both have embraced neoliberal policies to varying degrees. She contends that this bipartisan consensus has stifled meaningful debate and reform, perpetuating a status quo that benefits the few at the expense of the many. This critique is particularly relevant in the current political climate, where there is growing dissatisfaction with traditional political structures and increasing calls for systemic change.

Baradarans writing is both passionate and persuasive. She deftly combines rigorous research with a solid moral argument, calling for re-evaluating the economic principles guiding policy decisions for the past few decades. Her call to action is clear: to address the financial inequalities plaguing America, there must be a fundamental shift away from neo-liberalism towards policies prioritising the well-being of the majority. This includes stronger labour protections, progressive taxation, and increased financial sector regulation.

One of the most striking aspects of "The Quiet Coup" is Baradarans vision for the future. Rather than simply critiquing the current system, she offers concrete solutions and policy recommendations to create a more equitable and just society. These proposals are grounded in a thorough understanding of economic history and theory and reflect a commitment to pragmatic and achievable reform. Baradarans optimism is infectious; she believes that change is possible and that with the right policies, America can rebuild middle class that is the backbone of a healthy democracy.

However, some readers might find Baradarans arguments to be somewhat one-sided. While she thoroughly critiques neoliberal policies, there is less discussion of the potential downsides or challenges associated with her proposed alternatives.

 Additionally, those who subscribe to neoliberal principles may find her critique overly harsh or dismissive of the potential benefits of free-market policies. Nevertheless, Baradarans arguments are well-supported by evidence, and her passionate advocacy for economic justice is compelling.

In conclusion, "The Quiet Coup: Neo-liberalism and the Looting of America" by Mehrsa Baradaran is a thought-provoking and influential book offering a searing critique of the economic policies shaping contemporary America. Baradarans analysis is thorough and accessible, and her call for a shift towards more equitable policies is urgent and convincing.

This book is essential for anyone interested in understanding the roots of economic inequality in America and seeking solutions to build a fairer and more just society. Through her insightful critique and bold vision for the future, Baradaran has made a significant contribution to the ongoing debate about the direction of economic policy in the United States.
The reviewer is a researcher and development worker






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