US capitalism has long been ranked first among nations in production, jobs, wealth, power, and individual freedom. Is this level of pre-eminence likely to continue? In this candid, sobering assessment of our current fiscal maladies, economist Robert H. Parks explains why he predicts capitalism is now rushing to its demise. A strong opponent of the supply-side, trickle-down economics that has been in vogue under conservative presidents, Parks argues that bottom-up stimulus and big government spending still have an important role to play in bringing greater prosperity to all US citizens. Citing the stellar examples of the financing of World War II, the use of fiscal and monetary tools to end the Great Depression, social security, and the GI Bill, Parks advocates public works programs to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, improve our public school system, and other vital projects. To critics who object that deficit financing would be inflationary, he counters that the present inadequate system is already producing severe oil and food price inflation, even as house prices continue to plunge.
Among the other urgent problems that the federal government must tackle, Parks addresses the need to curb societal violence and the murder rate through gun control, the world-wide threat from nuclear proliferation through government's leadership in promoting disarmament measures, corruption of government by business through influence-peddling, environmental protection, and, most of all, 'the military, industrial, and big oil complex' Parks identifies energy cartels and the armament industry as the "dangerous and secret links of major industries to government officials, corporate executives, and military commanders'. He asserts that the loosely regulated manufacture of weapons together with the virtual monopoly over oil production and gas prices constitutes the greatest threat to the welfare, not only of capitalism, but also of global society in the future. This stern jeremiad from an experienced economics forecaster, who correctly predicted the 'mini-depression' of 1981-82, is a call for drastic change in our national agenda and policy making.
Robert H. Parks, PhD (New York, NY) is former professor of finance in the Department of Finance and Graduate Economics at the Lubin School of Business, Pace University, in New York City. He served as managing director and chief economist of Robert H. Parks & Associates, Inc. For many years, he wrote The Money and Capital Markets Monitor for institutional investment officers, graduate students, faculty, and the press. He is the author of Unlocking the Secrets of Wall Street, among other works.