2033 Isn’t That Far Away, from Herbert J. Gans

by University of Michigan Press on September 22, 2008

Imagining America in 2033Imagining America in 2033: How the Country Put Itself Together after Bush is a utopian narrative harboring an analytic subtext that none of the many books about the country’s economic crisis have yet addressed. In 2033, the long term economic decline combined with the increased inequality that has gripped the country since the 1970s is slowly destroying or exporting jobs that pay a livable wage and so shrinking the work week of ostensibly full time workers that they cannot take home a livable paycheck. Once this trend is in full swing, the consumer economy on which the country’s economic health has long depended will shrink as well. Before long, the Walmarts, other large retailers and all the industries and firms that make their profits in the consumer economy will demand government action – and this time, they will not lobby for lower corporate taxes. Instead they will pressure the federal government for job programs and even income subsidies that will put shopping money back into people’s pockets. They may even support an economically liberal Democrat for the presidency, and as the book suggests, someday a Republican president will ask Congress for a wealth tax to enable the federal government to keep the consumer economy, and thus the larger economy, humming.

Sound familiar?

Although the book describes a hopeful long run future, it can as easily be read about a more immediate future, including the day after the 2008 presidential election. If Barack Obama is the winner, it presents him and Congress with a variety of innovative policy ideas, domestic and foreign – including some that would build on proposals he has already made during the campaign and help crystallize some of his efforts.

If John McCain wins the election, the book will be immediately irrelevant in another way, since it begins with preparations for the 2012 election by a Democratic politician who turns out to be electable, and what the Republican response will be.

{ 1 comment }

Kris September 26, 2008 at 11:38 am

So, about John McCain’s Utopian “2013 Speech” given in Columbus, Ohio, published May 15, 2008 (link below)–Dem VP nominee Joe Biden pointed out that McCain’s vision was great and “rosy,” but that he didn’t actually say anything about a plan for getting there, which is a great point and, let’s face it, the whole idea…so my personal copy of Herb Gans’ “2033” is in the mail to the “Straight Talk Express, c/o Johnny McC,” overnight delivery.

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