Is America Necessary? Conservative, Liberal, & Socialist Perspectives of United States Political Institutions

By Henry Etzkowitz; Peter Schwab | Go to book overview

purpose in the polity are bound to prove illusory. The reorganization of Congress to create responsibility in advance of the development of party responsibility was an act of piety to principle, of educational value; but as a practical matter it raised a structure without foundation. In the same way, reorganization of the executive branch to centralize administrative power in the presidency while political power remains dispersed and divided may effect improvement, but in a large sense it must fail. The basic prerequisite to the administration of the textbooks is a responsible two-party system. The means to its attainment are a number one problem for students of administration. What Schattschneider calls the struggle for party government may sometime yield us the responsible parliamentary two-party system needed to underpin our present administrative theory. Until that happy time, exploration of the needs and necessities of our present system is a high priority task of responsible scholarship.


Socialist

Gerald M. Schaflander. The "balanced" liberal ideology at the Federal Trade Commission: A due process radical alternative.

Pluralists maintain that there is a series of built-in checks and balances within the administrative and legislative branches of Government that blocks big business corporations from monopolizing the economy and controlling the political process. Many radicals maintain that large corporations have completely taken over the economy and totally and irreversibly dominate the polity. Some liberals proclaim a "balanced view" by saying that there are two relatively equal sides to the political and economic battles in our society. By doing so they legitimate the perpetuation of corporate control over much of American society. I will argue in this analysis that although oligopolistic1 companies and industries have effectively penetrated the polity, many of the democratic values inherent in the culture and in the constitution still survive.

The fight for democracy and the protection of consumers from unfair, deceptive, and manipulative business practices depend, in large part, upon exposing "balanced-view liberals." They must be removed from decision-making posts within the polity in order to stop the destruction of a free economic and political marketplace. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is one of the key battlegrounds on which radicals and liberals contest their conflicting values and goals.

A careful and critical analysis of the FTC, its bureaucratic, pro-business practices, and the need for structural reforms at and by the Senate Commerce Committee and at the FTC itself, must be creatively and carefully considered. A radical alternative using due process strategies must be attempted before a political verdict for the future is drawn. To accept a monolithic analysis of the polity without engaging in a democratic fight to alter the FTC would make this analysis into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Deception and manipulation are practiced daily upon the American consumer by corporations. Strategies and tactics have to be developed in order to stop big business from overwhelming consumers and wiping out their capacity to protect themselves from being manipulated. Only after the fight to implement new institutional reforms has been made can radicals and their supporters consider further action. Through institutional conflict (such as restructuring the FTC and Senate Commerce Committee), large numbers of people can be involved--across the political spectrum--to determine the success or failure of various strategies and tactics. In this way, one can build a constituency for social and political change that responds to consumer issues and actions rather than to abstract rhetoric.

To say that there is no use in fighting oligopoly under the present system and to offer only the hope of a future utopian

-369-

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Is America Necessary? Conservative, Liberal, & Socialist Perspectives of United States Political Institutions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One 15
  • 1 - Where Do I Stand? 17
  • Conservative 21
  • Conclusion 28
  • Socialist 44
  • Notes 46
  • Part Two 57
  • 2 - The Presidency 61
  • Conservative 67
  • Socialist 79
  • Notes 85
  • 3 - The Pentagon 101
  • Conservative 107
  • Socialist 117
  • 4 - The Secret Police 133
  • Conservative 139
  • Socialist 152
  • Notes 160
  • Part Three 167
  • 5 - Elite Clubs and Associations 169
  • Conservative 173
  • Notes 184
  • Notes 192
  • 6 - Multinational Corporations 209
  • Conservative 213
  • Socialist 221
  • Notes 244
  • 7 - Organized Crime 257
  • Conservative 259
  • Socialist 264
  • Part Four 283
  • 8 - Congress 285
  • Conservative 289
  • Socialist 296
  • Notes 303
  • 9 - The Courts 315
  • Conservative 319
  • Socialist 330
  • Notes 337
  • 10 - Regulatory Agencies 347
  • Conservative 349
  • Socialist 361
  • Notes 369
  • Political Parties 385
  • Conservative 387
  • Liberal 396
  • Conclusion 410
  • 12 - Academia 413
  • Conservative 416
  • References 427
  • Notes 434
  • Part Five 449
  • 13 - The Media 451
  • Conservative 453
  • Liberal 467
  • Notes 474
  • 14 - Banks 483
  • Conservative The Great Banking Retreat. 485
  • Socialist 489
  • Notes 497
  • 15 - Unions 511
  • Conservative 513
  • Notes 519
  • A Critical Issue 537
  • 16 - The Economic Crisis 539
  • Conservative 542
  • Socialist 544
  • Notes 550
  • Part Seven 557
  • 17 - Political Programs 567
  • Louis Banks. the Mission Of Our Business Society. 568
  • Ralph Nader and Donald Ross. Toward an Initiatory Democracy. 576
  • Stanley Aronowitz. On Organization: A Good Party Is Hard to Find. 581
  • Mass Parties and Reformism 587
  • Notes 596
  • Fred R. Harris. Up With Those Who'Re Down. 602
  • Part Eight 613
  • Appendix 621
  • Note 644
  • Index 649
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