Three good new books on politics

1. Isaac William Martin, Rich People’s Movements: Grassroots Campaigns to Untax the One Percent.  He even covers Frank Chodorov.

2. Sumantra Bose, Transforming India: Challenges to the World’s Largest Democracy.  The first sentence of the last paragraph of the book is this: “In the post-1989 era, the people of India have progressively empowered regional(ist) parties and leaders.”

3. Avi Tuschman, Our Political Nature: The Evolutionary Origins of What Divides Us.  He traces differences in political views back to three underlying factors, namely attitudes toward tribalism, tolerance of inequality, and perceptions of human nature (competitive vs. cooperative).  Think of this book as the next step after Jonathan Haidt.


Not familiar with Tuschman. Interesting subject matter, but the Economist was not impressed:

Dear Brian,

I'd like to invite you to check out our website -- I have a feeling you'll find the book quite interesting. The review you mentioned had some unfortunate biases and factual errors in it.

Best wishes,

A. Tuschman

1. Seriously? A book predicated on economically uninformed occupy wall street slogans? Please tell me that this book-length political pamphlet is "good" as an illustration of the deadly populist rhetoric the left uses to advance authoritarian goals.

If the author has spoken to a single tea party protester he knows that the a) middle class pays most of the taxes, b) that wealth (hard to tax) is very different from income and c) that the "tax the rich" sloganeering is most generally used by the very wealthy to pit the lower income wage earners against the higher income wage earners, i.e. class warfare.

Libertarians get a lot of deserved flack for their lack of intellectual fortitude when it comes to currying affection from the left on issues like immigration into a welfare state, but at least with those issues the desire to be loved has some basis (however misguided) in the principles of classical liberal think.

This book really does read like an extended version of a tract handed out by Occupy protesters. I never cease to be amazed at Cowen's gullibility when it comes to uncritically adopting the rhetorical framing of the fascist left. Does Cowen not realize that people with a net worth over $10 million vote overwhelmingly Democrat? Is he really less informed than Rush Limbaugh and his listeners on this point?

The "rich" simply aren't that concerned about income taxes because they've already got their money. If anything, high taxes benefit billionaires like the Koch brothers because it helps keep down the up and comers and ossifies the existing structure in place.


The first two book covers show fists pumping in the air. And the third one shows no hands at all.


“In the post-1989 era, the people of India have progressively empowered regional(ist) parties and leaders.”

Political power in Indonesia, as well, has become relatively decentralized, which seems to be working fairly well, too. Perhaps Europe (and the U.S.) could learn from India and Indonesia?

Switzerland is highly decentralized and seems to be doing OK. Likewise Germany and the US have strong state level governments. But I agree in Indonesia decentralization has not been a great success. The problem is that the regional governments are even more corrupt than the central one, and the electorates in some places are very naive. Plus in many cases you can have central government and local government policies in direct contravention of each other, for instance in the award of coal mining licences, which any reasonable constitution would not permit.

German state governments don't have nearly as many powers as their U.S. counterparts.

And yet so much more power than for example french regional governments.

I think ChrisA's comment is still very valid.

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