Tyranny, Inc.: How Private Power Crushed American Liberty--and What to Do About It


Tyranny, Inc.


Forum Books (August 15, 2023)
Author: Sohrab Ahmari
288 p.
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593443460


This is the inside story of how our political class enabled an era of unaccountable corporate might that left ordinary Americans isolated and powerless—and how we can fight back—from the acclaimed author of The Unbroken Thread.

Over the past two generations, U.S. leaders deregulated big business on the faith that it would yield a better economy and a freer society. But the opposite happened. Americans lost stable, well-paying jobs, Wall Street dominated industry to the detriment of the middle class and local communities, and corporations began to subject us to total surveillance, even dictating what we are, and aren’t, allowed to think. The corporate titans and mega-donors who aligned themselves with this vision knew exactly what they were getting: perfect conditions for what Sohrab Ahmari calls “private tyranny”.

Drawing on original reporting and a growing chorus of experts who are sounding the alarm, Ahmari chronicles how private tyranny has eroded America’s productive economy and the liberties we take for granted—from employment agreements that gag whistleblowers to Big Finance’s takeover of local fire departments, to the rigging of corporate bankruptcy to deny justice to workers and consumers—illuminating how these and other developments have left millions feeling that our livelihoods are insecure. And he shows how ordinary Americans can fight back, by restoring the economic democracy that empowered and uplifted millions of working-class people in the twentieth century.

Provocative, original, and cutting across partisan lines, Tyranny, Inc. is a revelatory read on the most important political story of our time.

“In Tyranny, Inc., Sohrab Ahmari, one of the leading thinkers of our time, alerts us to one of the greatest threats to freedom.”—Michael Lind, author of The New Class War and Hell to Pay

"Tyranny, Inc. is the best book yet published by a writer associated with the “postliberal” movement. Ahmari’s argument is focused and topical, he offers spirited critiques without ranting, and gives proper credit to the academic sources on which he draws. In these respects, Tyranny, Inc. stands out favorably in a literature inclined to oracular generalization. Most important, Ahmari largely avoids sweeping claims about modernity, the common good, and other abstractions. Instead, he focuses on a concrete problem: the exercise of intrusive control by ostensibly private entities, especially for-profit enterprises (...)

The core of Ahmari’s argument—and the source of his title—is that limits on the influence of ordinary people also apply in ostensible free markets. If you can’t afford the costs of moving, temporarily losing income, or acquiring new skills, it’s little comfort that you’re theoretically free to quit your job ...”—Samuel Goldman, author of "After Nationalism: Being American in a Divided Age".

[ Full text of Goldman's review

  • Hits: 484