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The Influence Machine: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Capture of American Life

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by Alyssa Katz
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The Influence Machine: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Capture of American Life by Alyssa Katz

An illuminating history and groundbreaking investigation tracing how a single trade organization turned itself into the most dangerous political weapon in America When Americans hear the words "Chamber of Commerce," many still think of the local business associations that spruce up Main Streets and sponsor Little League teams around the country. But the United States Chamber of Commerce is a different animal altogether. The Chamber was originally founded to give big business a voice during the long—and now almost inconceivable—period in American history that saw the rise of workers' rights, consumer protections, and environmental awareness as national priorities. But over time, driven by an antigovernment ideology and its desire for financial and political power, the Chamber metastasized into a fighting force designed to protect the worst excesses of American industry. The Chamber, through its veiled corporate sponsors, can take credit for some of the most disturbing trends in American life: the reversal of environmental protections, the destruction of unions and worker protections, the rise of virulent antigovernment ideology, the enlarged role of money in campaigns, and the creation of "astroturf" movements as cover for a corporate agenda. Through its propaganda, lobbying, and campaign cash, the Chamber has created a right-wing monster that even it struggles to control, a conservative movement that is destabilizing American democracy as never before. The Influence Machine tells this history as a series of gripping narratives that take us into the backrooms of Washington, where the battles over how our country is run and regulated are fought, and then out into the world, where we see how the Chamber's campaigns play out in real lives. In the end, Alyssa Katz reveals the hidden weaknesses of this seeming juggernaut and shows how its antidemocratic agenda can be reversed. Praise for Alyssa Katz's Our Lot: How Real Estate Came to Own Us "[A] trenchant chronicle of how 'all that had been sacred about home lending' was upended, through a series of government policies that were enacted with seemingly noble intentions—broadening home ownership and priming the economic pump—but ended up turning homes into profit centers rather than places to live."—Tom Vanderbilt, The New York Times Book Review "Her reporting was prescient. . . . Katz [is] a talented, insightful [reporter], and [her book] advances our understanding of the mortgage meltdown."—Kristin Downey, The Washington Post "[A] richly detailed analysis of the recent (and ignominious) history of the American real estate market . . . Katz writes with authority and empathy. The many people the author interviews, from the single mother in Cleveland who lost her house just two years after buying it to the family living near Sacramento whose new home is already falling apart, become the heroes, victims and sometimes culprits in this gripping account of collective irresponsibility."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)From the Hardcover edition.

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Ebook Details
Pages: 336
Size: 601 KB
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Date published:   2015
ISBN: 9780679645061 (DRM-EPUB)

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This product is listed in the following categories:

Nonfiction > Political Science > Political Process > Political Parties
Nonfiction > Political Science > Labor & Industrial Relations
Nonfiction > Political Science > Political Ideologies > Democracy

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Nonfiction > Social Science > Sociology
Nonfiction > Political Science > Political Process > Political Parties
Nonfiction > Political Science > Labor & Industrial Relations
Nonfiction > Political Science > Political Ideologies > Democracy

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05/26/2017
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