I just finished Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco. It is superb, and I've spent a fair amount of time typing in passages from the book below in order to capture some of its theme.
The "me" of twenty years ago wouldn't be caught dead reading a book like this. It is, after all, an unflinching assasination of our present capitalist system. As a younger person, I was wholeheartedly (and more than a little ignorantly) devoted to a dog-eat-dog, lassiez-faire capitalist system. And, in my adult life, I have lived that way, at least inasmuch as I created, built, and sold a successful business and have, before, during, and after that time, been a very active participant in the financial markets (both by way of trading as well as writing).
Experience and observation have moderated my views, however. At the outset I will say that I still regard capitalism as the most proper, natural, and constructive economic system, but I'm a much firmer believer in a modified version – – consistently-regulated with a distribution of wealth more akin to the 1970s than the present day – – than I ever imagined I would be.
This passage from the preface of the book captures the pages that follow nicely:
The ruthless hunt for profit creates a world where everything and everyone is expendable. Nothing is sacred. It has blighted inner cities, turned the majestic Appalachian Mountains into a blasted moonscape of poisoned water, soil, and air. It has forced workers into a downward spiral of falling wages and mounting debt until laborers in agricultural fields and sweatshops work in conditions that replicate slavery. It has impoverished our working class and ravaged the middle class. And it has enriched a tiny global elite that has no loyalty to the nation-state. These corporations, if we use the language of patriotism, are traitors.