Shane Hamilton


On his book Trucking Country: The Road to America’s Wal-Mart Economy

Cover Interview of May 01, 2009


In the 1970s, tens of thousands of independent truckers armed themselves with shotguns to protest what they saw as the collapse of the American Dream due to over-regulation of the U.S. economy.  Through the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s, their wishes for a less-regulated, consumer-driven, anti-union economy were largely granted by the Reagan, Bush I and II, and Clinton administrations.  Today, the American economy also faces what is often called a crisis of capitalism akin to that of the 1970s.  But today ordinary working Americans are confronted with the legacies of lax government oversight and free market ideologies taken to extremes.

Although my book was not written to address how policymakers or voters should confront the emerging collapse of the American Dream, I hope that readers would gain a fuller understanding of how the current crisis came about.  For the past few decades, American political culture has been characterized by a woeful lack of understanding of issues of political economy.  The rhetoric has been overheated, on both the Left and the Right, about the proper role of government in shaping and overseeing the distribution of wealth in our economy.  Anyone who reads my book will gain a much more nuanced understanding of how American capitalism works.  Such knowledge, I am certain, can contribute to a more productive and informed political culture as our nation’s leaders revive the idea that federal economic regulation can serve, rather than hinder, the interests of working Americans.

© 2009 Shane Hamilton