Journalist Steven Brill examines how and why major American institutions no longer serve us as they should, causing a deep rift between the vulnerable majority and the protected few. Covering the years 1967 to 2017, Brill shows us how America's core values -- meritocracy, innovation, due process, free speech, and even democracy itself -- have somehow managed to power its decline into dysfunction. They have isolated our best and brightest, whose positions at the top have never been more secure or more remote. The result has been an erosion of responsibility and accountability, an epidemic of shortsightedness, an increasingly hollow economic and political center, and millions of Americans gripped by apathy and hopelessness. By examining the people and forces behind the rise of big-money lobbying, legal and financial engineering, the demise of private-sector unions, and a hamstrung bureaucracy, Brill answers the question on everyone's mind: How did we end up this way? Finally, he introduces us to those working quietly and effectively to repair the damages.
The protected and the unprotected -- Meritocracy becomes the new aristocracy -- Casino country -- The greening of the First Amendment -- Making markets efficient, and marginalizing those left behind -- "Lip service" for America's workers -- Dysfunctional democracy -- Moat nation -- Why nothing works -- Broken -- Protecting the most unprotected -- Storming the moats
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