Martin Lowy – Capitalism for Democrats

The book Capitalism for Democrats: Why The Country Needs It Now from Martin Lowy promotes a long overdue reckoning for capitalism and its ambitious spirit is in keeping with Lowy’s six previous publications. Lowy’s book is an extended treatise on what undermines faith in modern capitalism, where it fails, ways to fix it, and examines popular alternatives considered in recent years. Lowy advocates his positions from the point of view of self-described Democrat but there’s never any overt partisan angle interjecting itself into Lowy’s writing. He writes about these subjects from vantage points of education and experience but never in a strident, high-handed fashion. He makes it clear early on that he respects the young Democrats make such an impact on left politics in recent years and that same generosity of spirit affects the work as a whole.

He never belabors any one subject as he careens through a focused crash course in many concerns regarding modern capitalist policy. He presents the merits and deficiencies of each side, their conflicts, and engages in dialogues about the place of economic justice and increased accountability in corporate governance – including discussing the only concept of Delaware corporations in our social order. Lowy’s ability to summarize complex topics in a number of salient ways rather than subjecting readers to long-winded dissections impresses me.


Lowy posits the possible truth that the still ongoing period of global prosperity humanity enjoys since the end of the Second World War has been in part the result of capitalism spearheading areas of progress. It isn’t a truth those with their interests aligned further to the left will want to entertain but nonetheless merits consideration. Discussing such wide screen themes are among the strengths this deceptively modest book contains. The book’s structure gives it a lot of its final impact. Lowy’s decision to alternate his topics from chapter to chapter, focusing on elements of capitalist economy like antitrust laws up close before transitioning to much broader discussions about socialism for instance, strengthens the book. Lowy maintains a consistent tone throughout Capitalism for Democrats that invites you to keep reading and never loses readers in a jungle of verbiage.

Lowy’s writing career has garnered him considerable plaudits so the publication of Capitalism for Democrats will attract a lot of readers. People encountering Lowy for the first time will soon discover they are in capable hands and Lowy‘s cool yet personable authorial voice gives his point of view added dramatic impact. I think, in the end, this book isn’t trying to solidify you in a set way of thinking, but rather consider the alternative approaches it does propose and understand the forces shaping the moment in their proper light.

Capitalism for Democrats: Why the Country Needs It Now is far from wishy-washy however. He meets his stated goal of reinforcing capitalism’s continued relevance in modern culture, even if you disagree with him, and continue struggling with his ideas. The refreshing balance and even-ness of tone he brings to the pages, however, is especially welcome during contentious times. We have so few measured and well-versed voices in our public dialogue that one like Lowy stands out from the din.

Clay Burton