• Bruce Rich
  • Environmental Forum
  • September-October 2018
  • p. 23

Robert Kuttner's recent book, “Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism,“  warns that “corporate and financial elites have substantially captured the machinery of the state,” as well as governance institutions of the international economy such as the World Bank, World Trade Organization, and the European Union. He contends that ideologies emphasizing free trade and market-based approaches to environmental and social issues have mostly strengthened the very forces undermining sustainability and equity in many countries.  Free trade with nations with low environmental and human rights standards imports “the low standards along with the products.”   Privatization of public services both in developed and developing countries “has often been shown to be less cost-effective, less reliable, and more prone to corruption than…public alternatives.”  ...He concludes that only reform efforts through the nation state can contain markets and constrain financial elites, seeming to call for a progressive populism to counter the prevailing right wing version. He is skeptical of environmental efforts that “use more market forces to address the growing problems caused by market failure,” because they address people as consumers, not as citizens.

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