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20200726 – Fully Grown


The main idea of this book is to review various potential causes of slowdown in GDP growth over the last 20 years and evaluate which of them has more and which has less impact. Author findings are that only demographics, shift from goods to services, and decline in population mobility have significant impact. Author also divides these causes into positive and negative, concluding that positive have more impact and therefore slowdown in growth is a sign of positive development.


This starts with the point that until year 2000 average growth of USA economy was 2% per years, but after in decreased, but material standards of live actually continue to increase. Author then retells how this book started and who helped him to write it.

1. Victims of Our Own Success
In this chapter author starts by providing economic statistics: “The growth rate of GDP per capita, which is what I focus on in this book, averaged 2.25% per year from 1950 to 2000. But the average growth rate of GDP per capita from 2000 to 2016 was only 1%. That difference of 1.25 percentage points of growth per year means that GDP per capita today is about 25% lower than if we had matched the twentieth-century growth rate throughout the twenty-first century. It represents a significant deceleration of economic growth, but it started well before the recession in 2009.”

Then he discusses sources of growth, especially in human capital and demonstrates that its growth slowed. He also discusses switch from goods to services and how it slows growth because increase in productivity is much more difficult to achieve in services than in manufacturing. Finally, he briefly discusses different theories of slowdown. The final point in this chapter is that slowdown could be a good thing because it demonstrates that we achieved such high levels of productivity that the growth is not important anymore.

2.  What Is the Growth Slowdown?
Here author starts with meaning and provides a nice illustration.

At the end of chapter author compares American data with other countries, demonstrating that it is not that different for developed European countries and Japan, but a lot less than China. Author also makes a point that growth slowdown does not mean that anything become worse than before, but rather that it does not getting better as fast as it could be.

3. The Inputs to Economic Growth
Here author discusses components of growth:

  • Human capital as combination of number of employees, hours worked, and level of educations
  • Physical capital as combination of structures, equipment, and intellectual property

He then explains that even if growth of all components decreased, it is not enough to explain decrease in aggregate

4 What Accounts for the Growth Slowdown?
Here author looks at data per capita and demonstrates that there is residual growth not explained by growth components and it is what slowed it down:

6. The Difference between Productivity and Technology  
In this chapter author looks at technology and productivity and difference that could be related to both machines and processes. Author also discusses diminishing returns on R&D investment, asking if “we run out of innovations?”.

At the end of chapter author discusses potential explanations to residual:

  • The first explanation involves the long-run shift in the composition of our spending away from goods and toward services.
  • The second big idea for explaining slower productivity growth was the rise in market power of firms over the past few decades. The available evidence shows that the average markup—the ratio of price to marginal cost—charged by firms in the economy has increased since 1990. That rise in markups was consistent with the rise in economic profits as a share of GDP over the same time period.
  • A last explanation for the slowdown in productivity growth is also a little puzzling. What I’ll document is that along a number of dimensions, the reallocation of human and physical capital between different uses has slowed down.

The final conclusion about market power is: Increased market power was associated with a smaller share of GDP flowing toward labor or the providers of physical capital, and a larger share to the claimants on the economic profits market power creates. In general, that meant the owners of firms. There are reasons to be wary of that, even if, relative to changes in demographics and the long-run shift into services, it did not explain why the growth rate of real GDP per capita fell.”

12 Reallocations across Firms and Jobs; 13 The Drop in Geographic Mobility
Here author analyzes if reallocation is a source of slowdown in growth. He goes through reallocation within industries, slowing in turnover of establishments, job turnover, and geographic mobility, which also decreased. The conclusion is:” The decline in geographic mobility was not trivial, but it does not explain the growth slowdown.”

14 Did the Government Cause the Slowdown?
Here author reviews consequences of changes in taxes and other government policies and concludes: ”But the evidence indicates that taxation and regulation did not have a significant effect on the ability of firms to produce real goods and services, and specifically there was no substantial shift in government policies around 2000 that could explain the growth slowdown.”

15 Did Inequality Cause the Slowdown?
Here author discusses changes in inequality and provides graph demonstrating that top 1% became less dependent on equity and more on labor income:

The conclusion: “Although the effect of Chinese trade was real in terms of replacing US manufacturing firms and employment—and that had real, negative impacts on those workers and their communities—in terms of the growth slowdown, the impact of Chinese trade was not large. The growth slowdown would have happened even if China had never become a major exporter, as the US was already in the middle of a long-run shift away from goods production toward services production. China accelerated this in a small way but was not responsible for it.”

17 The Future of Growth
In the final chapter author summarizes results of analysis concluding that causes of the growth slowdown are demographic and everything else has very small impact if any. Here is the summary:

At the end author looks in the future and expresses believe that even if the growth will not accelerate, it is actually sign of success because it is result of choices that people make and achieved wealth allows to make choices less bound by material needs than ever before.


From my point of view the accounting growth of GDP is pretty much meaningless number because it does not provide any direct information on material wellbeing of people and therefore requirement for such growth. For example. if everybody who wants to have steak dinner can do it any time, what is the point in growth of beef production? It applies to everything else: houses, cars, and so on. However, leaving aside the question who needs growth and why, the author’s conclusion that slowdown caused by mainly demographics in my view is technically correct, but missing the most important part – lots of people feel big gap between what is available to them materially and want they actually want to have and this gap is not result of inability to produce enough, but rather of ineffective organization of production and distribution processes. If this organization were modified so that its main objective become to close the gap, we would probably see initially huge growth, which then drop to near 0 when human aspirations switch away from material need to something else.

20200719 – The Rise of China vs. the Logic of Strategy


The main idea of this book is to review consequences, problems, and future outcome of raise of China and its increasingly open claim for world dominance, which author estimates as strategically unsound, albeit practically inevitable. Author believes that it would be met with growing resistance with very adverse consequences for China that could be avoided if Chinese move to democratic form, drop its military ambition,and become normal member of peaceful community of nations.


Here author describes his multiyear interest in China’s development and how it prompted writing this book to discuss strategic issues caused by China’s development and threat it generated for the world.

  1. The Fallacy of Unresisted Aggrandizement

In this chapter author discusses raise of China which is now moving away from peaceful development as equal member of world “community” to militant development aiming at world dominance.  After that author makes point that people often tend to project previous development into the future and strategically it always leads to mistake. The change of China objectives, its militarization, and clear plans on domination inevitably cause former supporters and enablers of China’s rise turn into opponents and disablers it this rise continuation.

2. Premature Assertiveness

In this chapter author reviews signs of China leadership’s attitude change as it was demonstrated in several diplomatic encounters in 2010-11, specifically during visit to India.

3. Great-State Autism Defined

Here author discusses more general phenomenon that he calls “Great-State Autism” when leaders of raising great power tend to ignore others. Here is how author characterizes this: “Instead, decisions on foreign affairs are almost always made on the basis of highly simplified, schematic representations of unmanageably complex realities, which are thereby distorted to fit within internally generated categories, expectations, and perspectives.”. Author then looks at historic example of such behavior by British, Russians, and especially Chinese.

4. Historical Residues in Chinese Conduct  

Here author look at Chinese approach to dealing with powerful adversaries expressed in these rules:

  • Initially, concede all that must be conceded to the superior power, to avoid damage and obtain whatever benefits or at least forbearance that can be had from it.
  • Entangle the ruler and ruling class of the superior power in webs of material dependence6 that reduce its original vitality and strength, while proffering equality in a privileged bipolarity that excludes every other power (“G-2,” at present).
  • Finally, when the formerly superior power has been weakened enough, withdraw all tokens of equality and impose subordination.

The final result is imposing on former adversary “the tributary system, the Tianxia hierarchy”. Author also stresses that China is seeking bilateral relations of benevolent Emperor vs tamed barbarians, rather than participation in multilateral organization of equals. Author also presents Chinese understanding of the future world order based on their vision:” The practical value of the traditional Chinese vision of world order, or tianxia … [is that] … this vision anchors a universal authority in the moral, ritualistic, and aesthetic framework of a secular high culture, while providing social and moral criteria for assessing fair, humanitarian governance and proper social relations. Varied discourses indebted to tianxia have resurfaced in modern China in quest of moral and cultural ways of relating to and articulating an international society. We believe that the Chinese vision may prove productive … in the tension-ridden yet interconnected world.”

5. The Coming Geo-Economic Resistance to the Rise of China

In this chapter author moves to present his vision of the future when Chinese approach and strive to dominate will force other countries to resist its economic advance and impose different rules than once that until now supported China’s economic development. Author believes that these rules could go through continuously increasing economic pressure, all the way until complete embargo similar to USA – Cuba situation. Author then reviewing specific measures that USA and other countries applied to counter Chinese advancement economically.

6. China’s Aggrandizement and Global Reactions

Here author reviews how changes in China behavior impacted attitude to China and different countries, which become increasingly negative. Especially strong negative attitude is expressed everywhere to Chinese rapid military development, perceived as a serious threat.

7. The Inevitable Analogy

In this chapter author first notes that historical analogies are usual invalid because all events are unique, then proceed analyze history of raise of Germany at the end of XIX century and its competition with Britain that ended in WWI and WWII. Author pays special attention to British strategy which achieved formation of united front of British, French, and Russian empires against Germany, even if it had to pay price for this by settling all disputes even if at high cost.

8. Could China Adopt a Successful Grand Strategy?

Author clearly believes that the best strategy for China would be restrict its military development and diplomatic assertiveness and continue economic development, but he also understands that it is not going to happen:

“China’s failure at the level of grand strategy, absent political leadership of superhuman perspicacity and courage, is therefore overdetermined:

• It would be abnormal to adopt a humble foreign policy because China’s all-round power is increasing rapidly;

• it would be abnormal to reduce military expenditures because China’s rapid economic growth allows their rapid increase;

• it would be abnormal for the PLA to overcome universal bureaucratic proclivities to accept its own diminution; and

• it would be abnormal for Chinese public opinion, insofar as it counts, to support the unilateral renunciation of military strength, especially given the humiliating past of military impotence. Indeed, there is strong evidence of public support for more military expenditure, and more ambitious expenditure, notably the acquisition of one or more aircraft carriers.

9. The Strategic Unwisdom of the Ancients

Here author looks at Chinese attitudes and glorification of ancient Chinese strategic literature such as Sun Tzu’s “The Art of war”, which is widely accepted as superbly wise peace of work, which still highly influences Chinese strategic thinking. Here is how author characterizes comparing with Western strategic thought: “The undoubted merit of The Art of War is its presentation of the universal and unchanging paradoxical logic of strategy in a form less cryptic than that of the coeval epigrams of Heraclitus (the unity of opposites, and so forth), and altogether more succinct than the On War of Carl von Clausewitz. To be sure, the latter is altogether superior intellectually because Clausewitz explains his reasoning step by step, starting from first principles in a manner at once systematically philosophical and exhilarating, while The Art of War baldly presents its prescriptions in an oracular manner. On War therefore offers a systematic methodology lacking in The Art of War, but there is no doubt that it too conveys the same (paradoxical) truths, and far more expeditiously.” Author provides quite detailed review of this work and concludes that it is way two much based on Chinese intracultural norms to be universally good guide and demonstrates how it impacts current situation.

10. Strategic Competence: The Historical Record

Here author looks at record and notes that real history demonstrates that all this sophisticated thinking is hardly effective in practice, as it beautifully confirmed by history of Han Chinese, who were conquered by much smaller people on pretty regular bases so much so that they ruled themselves only 1/3 of time over the last millennium.  

11. The Inevitability of Mounting Resistance

In this chapter author reviews reaction to of other countries to Chinese claim for domination and stresses not only inevitability of resistance and its actual rapid development, but also notes that balance of combined powers against China is not beneficial for China’s ability to achieve its goal of dominance.

12. Why Current Policies Will Persist

In this chapter author combines many of ideas to conclude that most probable way of development is that China will persists because of:

Great-state autism, which diminishes situational awareness

Historical residues in China’s external conduct, deriving from the tributary system and the presumption of centrality within the concentric circles of the Tianxia.

Resentment, both popular and CCP elite hostility directed at outside powers, often well concealed but strongly felt and sometimes abruptly expressed

The influence of the PLA and the military-industrial establishment on Chinese policies and conduct.

The multiplicity of other expressions of Chinese power—organizations able and willing to pursue expansionism perhaps for their own purely internal motives, which include state-owned enterprises, as well as integral parts of the state apparatus.

13. Australia: Weaving a Coalition; 14. Japan: Disengaging from Disengagement; 15. Defiant Vietnam: The Newest American Ally? 16. South Korea: A Model Tianxia Subordinate? 17. Mongolia: Northern Outpost of the Coalition? 18. Indonesia: From Ostracism to Coalition; 19. The Philippines: How to Make Enemies. 20. Norway: Norway? Norway!

Here author reviews development in surrounding China countries and demonstrates that they far away from accepting China’s dominance.

21. The Three China Policies of the United States

Here author looks at China’s relation with USA and how it developed from situation hugely beneficial for China to constantly deteriorating one. It was expressed by USA’s three policies:

The First U.S. China Policy: Vigorous Promotion of China’s Economic Growth.

The Second U.S. China Policy: The State Department Confronts China.

The Third U.S. China Policy: The Department of Defense.

22. Conclusions and Predictions

This book was published in 2015 and predictions that author made today in 2020 look pretty valid: “At this time, the rising threat emanates from an authoritarian, increasingly assertive China empowered by very rapid economic growth. The logic of strategy evokes corresponding reactions, which are diplomatic in the main but may still be warlike even in our nuclear era, though they can no longer achieve purposeful aims by actual warfare, except on the small scale allowed by escalation risks at each remove. Hence, if the economic disparity between China and the anti-China coalition were one day to reach proportions that no longer allow a tolerable military balance to be maintained, the reaction must assume economic forms, even if it is wholly strategic in content. Only a fully democratic China could advance unimpeded to global hegemony, but then the governments of a fully democratic China would undoubtedly seek to pursue quite other aims, to maximize the happiness of the population rather than their own power. In the meantime, the strategic aim of the United States and other like-minded powers cannot be to outmaneuver and defeat China, but rather to dissuade its own self-defeating pursuit of military aggrandizement in the best interests of the peoples of the world, and China’s first of all”.


Author’s analysis is pretty much in line in what I believe after reading quite a few books about China and its raise. I absolutely agree that the only way to avoid confrontation hopefully economic and political without it turning into war, is for China implement democratic reform and allow removal of Communist party from power. However, I do not believe that it would be easy. It would require complete change of Western attitude to China, which is not possible without internal transformation of Western states, especially USA, that would suppress power of internal pro-China forces such as ideologically pro-communism intelligentsia and big business that benefits highly from access to Chinese lower paid and nearly regulation free environment. I am sure it would cause quite serious struggle, but I believe that America can handle it successfully and Chinese communism will be put to rest in the dust been of history next to the Soviet developed socialism and German National-socialism.

20200712 – The Power of Bad


The main idea of this book per authors is to explore power of bad – how much stronger it is than power of good, how it operates in the brain, how it distorts one’s perceptions of people and risks, how one can minimize those distortions, how to use the power of bad for positive purposes, and how to deal with the particular challenges of the negativity effect in business and the online world. It is also to look at the innate human strengths and conscious strategies that can be marshaled against the modern barrage of bad.


Prologue: The Negativity Effect
Authors start this with discussion of universality of negative attitudes, which on one hand is well known, but on other hand only recently become subject of serious research. Authors describe a number of experiments demonstrating that small amount of bad could spoil large amount of good and discusses this asymmetry. Another important point that authors make is that:” The negativity bias is adaptive; the term biologists use for a trait that improves the odds of survival for an individual or a group. On our ancestral savanna, the hunter-gatherers who survived were the ones who paid more attention to shunning poisonous berries than to savoring delicious ones.”

CHAPTER 1: How Bad Is Bad? Enlisting the Rational Mind
In this chapter authors refer to Baumeister who based on his own live experience developed “positivity ratio”, which is the number of good events required neutralize impact of every bad event. After that they discuss research into this ratio, its methodology and results that led to establishment of “Gottman ratio” 5/1. In other words, one needs 5 positive events to neutralize one negative. Another result related to emotional impact demonstrated that:” Research tracking workers’ moods during the day shows that a setback has between two and five times as much emotional impact as a positive event. Emotions make us less rational, and therefore more susceptible to the power of bad.” An interesting thing authors refer to is explanation of superstitions, which normally prevail because one needs several encounters with black cat when nothing negative happens to override one such encounter when something negative does. The authors discuss phenomenon of safety junkies – people who often irrationally increase their risks, for example driving instead of flying after 9-11, even if driving is much more dangerous. Finally, authors discuss ways to avoid emotional impact by developing some process and use example from the sport tactics.

CHAPTER 2: Love Lessons: Eliminate the Negative
Here authors move to discuss process of removing negatives in one’s love life. Authors use examples from classic literature for this purpose. At the end they present some specific strategies:

  • Don’t overpromise.
  • Don’t expect credit for going the extra mile.
  • Remember that bad is in the eye of the beholder.
  • Put the bad moments to good use.
  • Think before you blame. Beware
  • When you’re fighting, bring in an imaginary referee.
  • Get a second opinion.
  • Suspend judgment.
  • Don’t take the bait.
  • If you must respond, don’t escalate.
  • Follow the Negative Golden Rule.

 CHAPTER 3: The Brain’s Inner Demon: Wired for Bad
This chapter is about Felix Baumgartner who had unexpected psychological problem with long planned stratospheric jump, when he suddenly got paralyzed with fear and then had to apply significant effort with help from psychologist to be able to overcome this problem. Authors use it to discus works of fear in the brain and how to train the brain to overcome it.

CHAPTER 4: Use the Force: Constructive Criticism
This chapter starts with suggestion that bad could prompt people to act and even flourish as result. Authors reviews how slight change in the same review of a book can turn it from positive to negative and demonstrate that negative has a lot more impact than positive. After that authors discuss how to deliver bad news in the wrong and right way. Here are strategies:

  • Consider your objective.
  • Ask questions.
  • Once you’ve gotten the criticism across, use the power of bad to your advantage.
  • In doling out praise, don’t worry that it will seem overblown or insincere.
  • Be creative with your praise.

CHAPTER 5: Heaven or Hell: Prizes vs. Penalties
This chapter is about preference of stick over carrot as an incentive tool. Authors start with derby when nobody ever saw a jokey with a carrot dangling before horse, but all jockeys do have whips. Then they move to religions when fear of hell is much more powerful that anticipation of paradise. Finally, they discuss effective or non-effective applications in education and workplaces.  

CHAPTER 6: Business 101: Yes, We Have No Bad Apples
Here authors discuss typical American attitude to norms violation – bad apples. They make a very valid point that bad apples spoil the barrel and provide guide to different types of bad apples: The jerk, The slacker, and the downer. Author present experiments demonstrating how one bad apple decrease team performance by 35%. Finally, and most important, they provide recommendations how to deal with bad apple:

  • Protect yourself
  • Rearrange the barrels
  • Be careful whom label
  • Don’t expect bad apples to change on their own.
  • Isolate the bad apples.
  • Intervene early, and don’t be shy about it.
  • Don’t force the good apples to adapt to bad behavior.
  • Don’t hesitate to fire a jerk, but don’t be a jerk about it.

CHAPTER 7: Online Perils: The Sunshine Hotel vs. the Moon Lady
This chapter is about good and bad online reviews and how they can hurt business. Authors make a point that bad review are much more influencing that the good once and then provide recommendations on how to fight it: by providing really good service and saturating online reviewing with bad review designed in such way as to demonstrate that author is a jerk and therefore bad review should be discounted.

CHAPTER 8: The Pollyanna Principle: Our Natural Weapon Against Bad
This is another set of recommendations based on the story of Pollyanna – the girl that remained idiotically happy whatever bad things happened to her. Here is a set of recommendations of how to do it that authors provide:

  • Change the narrative.
  • Share your good news.
  • Rejoice (or at least fake it) when you hear someone else’s good news.
  • List your blessings.
  • Make time for nostalgia—and make more good memories.
  • Treasure the past, but don’t compare.

CHAPTER 9: The Crisis Crisis: Bad Ascending
This is another set of recommendations on how to deal with bad news. Authors recommend to start with three assumptions:

  1. The world will always seem to be in crisis.
  2. The crisis is never as bad as it sounds.
  3. The solution could easily make things worse.

After that they proceed to discuss that everything really got a lot better over the last few centuries and that there are lots of people who promote bad news because they believe it would be beneficial for them. Authors also provide recommendation on coping with bad news saturation.

CHAPTER 10: The Future of Good
In the final chapter authors somewhat surprisingly move to declare that despite obvious power of bad, the good’s prospects somehow improving over time: bad prophesies never realized, instead of starvation humanity had to deal with obesity, instead of nuclear war, the most peaceful time in history,  and despite all the negativity in the press, everything is getting somewhat better than it used to be despite memories filtering out bad, retain everything good, and overall generate nostalgy for the past that never existed. So, the key approach should be to take everything easy and approach both good and bad in reasonable and steady way.


I find the main ideas of these book that bad staff is powerful quite convincing and very much consistent with human psychology for which multitude of experiments demonstrate that people significantly more impacted by loss, that by gain. There are even quite consistent demonstrations that quantify these differences, by estimating how much more value is provided by retaining $100 versus gaining $100. I also agree with authors’ ideas on how one should handle bad news and overall approach to the bad staff in live. The constant fear and panic would do no good if one cannot prevent bad from happening, but steady and rational approach to whatever comes, do really allow avoiding bad if there is a chance to do it.

20200705 – The Litigation Nation


The main idea of this book is to demonstrate that American Exceptionalism very much expresses itself in the way Americans use litigation not only to settle disputes between themselves, but also move ahead legal and moral advancement of the country and demonstrate history of this process moving from defamation of neighbors and witch-hunt of early America all the way to contemporary successful class action lawsuit industry.


Introduction: Litigation and Honor
This starts with one of the first sexual harassment cases from which author using multiple other data infers that progress of American society moves from one litigation case to another, whether it refers to civil rights, consumer protection, and what not. Author also provides brief review of American legal structure to demonstrate how it all works and some historical data on number of lawyers to demonstrate consistency of America as litigation country throughout the history.

Part I: Litigation Defines a Nation
Here author states that litigation was prominently present in American life from the very beginning and it is to significant extent defined character of America as a nation.

  1. Defamation

The first chapter tracks an explosion of defamation suits in the seventeenth-century colonies, wherein servants, mistresses, and masters who had in England known and more or less accepted their place in the social order, in the New World accused one another of all manner of mischief. East Hampton Township on Long Island was one focal point of this miniature status uprising. The ruckus would lead to the first colonial witchcraft scare. The coda shows how defamation of public figures today demonstrated changing notions of right and wrong.

  • Land-Grabbing and Money-Grubbing

The second chapter follows a major shift (phase change) in the way the American colonists did business, focusing in particular on land disputes in eighteenth-century New Jersey. Real estate transactions whose principals did not know one another partially supplanted older customs of face-to-face exchanges of plots. The former involved documents that ordinary people did not understand. Plaintiff and defendant had to hire trained lawyers to carry on the litigation. A coda returns to litigation over mortgages, descendants of lawsuits over title.

  • Slavery and Honor

The third chapter turns to slave sales and estate disputes in the ante-bellum South, tracing a striking rise in suits for fraudulent sales and contested wills. This spike in litigation reflected the southern slave society’s shift from vigorous self-confidence to defensive anxiety. The courts were a cockpit of these often bitterly contested cases. The coda returns to the issue of reparations for slavery.

  • Free Labor?

Chapter 4 turns to the rise of free labor, focusing on suits for back pay, the appearance of craft unions, and damage awards for accidents. It closes with the most important of the modern version of these lawsuits—guest worker suits.

Part II: Litigation Defends Democracy
In this part author is moving to America after Civil war and all the way until present, discussing various types of litigation from business and matrimonial disputes between individuals to civil rights and tort litigation between large groups, corporations, and governments.

  • Stock Swindles and Swindlers

In the Gilded Age, railroads were the leading edge of these new kinds of corporate entities, and the creation of the Northern Securities trust became the nation’s great test of the tactics of the owners. The coda returns to the Regional Rail Reorganization Act Cases (1974) and a foreboding omen of corporate malfeasance for which the shareholders paid, the Enron scandal.

  • Divorce

Chapter 6 follows a rise in divorce suits in the first years of the twentieth century, as changing views of marriage and gender roles worked themselves out in the courts. Among the most reform minded of all the states’ tribunals, the New York courts experienced this shift in attitudes in telling fashion. New York was also the origin of U.S. v. Windsor (2013), the case striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (1996).

  • Civil Rights and Wrongs

Chapter 7 turns to the civil rights suits of the second half of the twentieth century, surveying how a gradual change in race relations spurred litigation over school segregation and public accommodations. The key cases are Briggs v. Elliot (1953) and Bell v. Maryland (1963).

  • Product Liability and Mass Tort Litigation

The final chapter examines an explosion in consumer tort cases, showing how the world of consumption habits in everyday life had become at the same time more faceless and more deeply personal. Called mass products liability, these involved some of the wealthiest corporations and thousands of the most ordinary Americans. The Dalkon Shield class action suit of the 1970s and 1980s captured all of these elements.

Conclusion: The Value of Litigation in America

A conclusion returns us to the themes of honor and phase change in values, featuring Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000).


This book demonstrates, and pretty convincingly at that, that America as a country of litigation is not a recent phenomenon, but rather an inherent feature of American culture. From my point of view, it is actually a pretty good feature, especially comparing with other cultures when disputes are resolved either by authoritarian rulers or by violent struggles. However, as any other goods thing when there is too much of this it is getting to be a lot less good. In case of litigation, its current level in America went way beyond reasonable levels. It created the whole industry with some 3 million lawyers busy with making money by preventing businesses from working effectively, spouses separating peacefully, and extracting money from public funds for imaginary civil rights violations with active cooperation from “public servants” who are eager to help and share in proceeds. In short, peaceful character of dispute resolution became deleterious due to massive instigating of disputes to generate profits for legal industry. Moreover, top level members of judicial branch routinely interfere with political process subverting democracy and, by doing so, paving way for suppression of resolution of many very important disputes that could potentially explode the whole system. I think that this situation calls for legal reforms, very big and very soon for such explosion to be prevented.