Managed by the Markets: How Finance Re-Shaped America

This academic analysis of our evolution from an industrial to a postindustrial portfolio society offers provocative clues for anyone seeking to understand the current financial crisis and Americans’ financial security. Davis, professor of management at the University of Michigan, asserts that in the eras of financial capitalism (1900–1930) and managerial capitalism (1930–1980), Americans looked to the corporation and long-term savings to provide them with security. In the wake of the takeovers and financial move to high risk savings in the 1980s, and deregulation and corporate scandals in the late 1990s, however, Americans have become disillusioned with the corporation as a source of lifetime employment and retirement capital and have instead relied on financial markets for security and wealth creation. In describing George W. Bush’s ownership society, Davis notes that when individuals come to see themselves as free agent investors, the consequences for society can be dire. While a compelling read, this book offers few predictions for the new investor society, suggesting only that big government might have to clean up the mess that individual Americans have made.
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