Vanderbilt Law Review


Henry Aaron

First Page



Although Kristol's book is vastly better than Devine's--both in style and in content--the two books suffer from a common short-coming. Kristol sees a central institution of modern capitalism--the corporation-under aggressive attack, and seeks to defend it. One may disagree with his appraisal of the risks, and resent his tendency to tar all critics with the inanities of the most extreme, but he has a strong case to make-that the rise of modern American capitalism has been a magnificent success story. This success has required an uneasy cooperation between free-market institutions and collective restraints and modifications of market outcomes. By seeing evil in critics of some of the workings of the American economy and over-simplifying complex problems, Kristol fails to contribute to under-standing the nature of this partnership. Devine all but denies that there is such a partnership. But such a partnership indubitably exists, even if one yearns for a simpler world in which it would not be necessary. Those who would deny any constructive role for collective action and those at the other end of the political spectrum who deny the accomplishments and strengths of the market economy both retard the needed discussion on whether the balance between these two elements of the partnership is correct and how it should be changed in specific instances. Unfortunately, both Kristol and Devine obstruct such a discussion and instead tend to polarize complex questions from one particular point of view.