Rarely do the facts of the matter so illuminate a moral truth as they do in Unjust Deserts . Quite simply, this book changes the fundamental terms of reference for future debates about inequality. It convincingly demonstrates that knowledge is the primary source of our national wealth, with or without the elites at the top who claim the lion’s share. […] Alperovitz and Daly help us understand what this reality means, and the values at stake, in a nation growing more unequal with each passing day. This book opens an extraordinary new vista on the moral bankruptcy of our second Gilded Age.
While corporations are increasingly writing their own rules, they are also being entrusted with a kind of social responsibility or morality. Politicians praise companies for acting "responsibly" or condemn them for not doing so. Yet the purpose of capitalism is to get great deals for consumers and investors. Corporate executives are not authorized by anyone — least of all by their investors — to balance profits against the public good. Nor do they have any expertise in making such moral calculations. Democracy is supposed to represent the public in drawing such lines. And the message that companies are moral beings with social responsibilities diverts public attention from the task of establishing such laws and rules in the first place.
The book also introduced the term 'creative destruction' to describe innovative entry by entrepreneurs as the force that sustains long-term economic growth , even as it destroys the value of established companies that have enjoyed some degree of monopoly power. Because of the significant barriers to entry that monopolies enjoy, new entrants have to be radically different: ensuring fundamental improvement is achieved, not a mere difference of packaging. The threat of market entry keeps monopolists and oligopolists disciplined and competitive, ensuring they invest their profits in new products and ideas. Schumpeter believed that it is this innovative quality that makes capitalism the best economic system.