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5 thoughts on “The Influence Machine

  1. Tuna Tuna says:

    The Influence Machine is an interesting book but its hard to really figure out the take home message of the book The writer goes through many examples of how the US Chamber of Commerce has been helpful in the past but then to how it has been detrimental in the present Much of the book was spent dinging the President of the Chamber of Commerce Tod Donohue and his allies for their many wrongs In sum this probably was about one hundred pages worth of material It all came in a negative light and almost made me think that perhaps the book should have just been a detailing of his time at this place or even his life He really did all Americans wrong and still does today The writer also started off with the premise that it was the rightRepublicans that were often benefiting from the influence of the US Chamber of Commerce but that seemed to not be the case with the chosen examples Often times the numerous Republican politicians were on the side of supporting moves to help the common worker through stricter controls on pollution secondhand smoke concerns acknowledging global warming and climate change government provided insurance program Clintoncare trucking hours However if the people in position were not on the same platform as the Chamber of Commerce meeting their 75100 points needed then they would find themselves lacking support and potentially out of a position when they lose their senate etc race There were even democrats as part of the Chamber of Commerce so this position taken for framing the Influence Machine was an odd one to have based on the examples given Even the ending paragraph implies that its the Democrats responsibility to put forth social advancement and prosperity Arent Republicans after prosperity too and in the case in this book also after social advancement? Odd conclusion chosenOtherwise the book did succeed in making me rethink my position on how much influence I think businesses should have in our lives and how much regulation is needed for them The businesses are able to prosper then the Americans will be able to prosper too This is often due to the consumer safety concerns that seemed to be highlighted here with companies trying to remain undercover and use the Chamber of Commerce to get legislation passed to decrease punitive damages for lawsuits alter the judges on panels who would favor companies or to support motions in legislature that would cause common science to be uestioned or just in general continue to make wonky products I like to think companies would self regulate themselves or strive to achieve making safe uality products but these examples like car companies makes me uestion it a bit Perhaps its the people in charge In any case I was glad to see that some companies have backed off of using the Chamber of Commerce as their choice of platformIn any case it was an informative book with great examples I think expanding to the foreign chamber of commerce was the weak parts Didnt really care much for the temporary worker thing for people in China though the bribing other countries around the world with Mercedes Benz SUV's was informative and enlightening Even companies I thought that were out for benefiting human lives Johnson Johnson even participated in bribes sad Worst yet was all these companies behind this banner of not wanting to support the built in American movement discounts for using steel and that was made in America Environmental policy salt intake story rundown of some of the ads used by the Chamber of Commerce and outcomes of the races they were used in the Judges story were the most intriguing reads of the book

  2. Bob H Bob H says:

    This is an important look at an organization with considerable political and economic power in the United States the US Chamber of Commerce It’s a relatively recent force we learn organized in 1914 at the urging of President William Howard Taft and only in the 1990s would it take its current shape as a national advocate for the largest corporate interests It not always operates in the best interests of most businesses – this book shows that most local chambers of commerce are not US Chamber members and increasingly it advocates for a narrow range of business interests notably those in international sectors such as retail tobacco fossil fuels or finance Those businesses interested in renewable energy concerned about global warming or employees’ health premiums often aren’t as well served Indeed as late as 1993 the Chamber had in the debate on the Clinton health plan originally focused concern on how much businesses were paying in health insurance premiumsHowever and this seems to have been a turning point conservative political interests then engineered a change in US Chamber leadership and the Chamber would oppose the Clinton proposal We see some insights into the Hillarycare failure and in this incident the rise of John Boehner And it was from this point on we see that the US Chamber would become key to Republican interestsWe see that the Chamber’s activities not limited to Congressional campaign fundraising; the author shows how diverse its activities lobbying and drafting legislation in Congress as well as backing and recruiting pro Chamber state legislators It cherry picks state judges and attorneys general It pioneered “Astroturf” campaigns in lobbying and continues to It litigates in Federal court – which has been under their persuasion and favorable to their interests It has been key to blocking regulation in finance before and after the 2008 mortgage crash and in matters of highway and product safety It used Federal grant regulation to intimidate or stifle scientific research in areas like climate product safety or the environment Even without the Chamber’s cooperation Ms Katz’ research seems thorough and damningAnd its influence isn’t limited to the US proper we learn about “AmChams” the American Chambers of Commerce in China and elsewhere which wield considerable influence on other countries’ labor practices and laws even in China – notably in a recent shift toward temp workforces These of course represent profit for the Chamber’s corporate clients overseas less opportunity for the workers there and exported jobs from US workersIn all this book provides timely new and important insights into a major force in US politics and the economy and how it got that way relatively recently in our history Highly recommend

  3. Genevieve Bg Genevieve Bg says:

    I've received an advance copy in exchange of a honest review In my first foray in NetGalley land I saw this book and had an immediate interest in reading it As an International Studies graduate the making of politics is always a subject that draw me I'm sad to say it wasn't the book for me In the beginning I wasn't sure if I was reading an essay or a fiction The writing of Alyssa Katz is really dramatic she goes directly for the human drama factor and I must say it goes against everything I like in a serious essay Despite that flair for drama this book was supported by what seems like an incredible amount of research It is sustained by facts and numbers a must for an essay and is potentially a good read for someone used to this kind of writing At least go in wih your eyes wide opened

  4. Peter Peter says:

    The US Chamber is all mobbed up awash with rivers of unreported money from corporations seeking to pass harmful special interest legislation and defeat legislators and judges who stand in their way

  5. Thomas Ray Thomas Ray says:

    Super readable account of how the US Chamber of Commerce came to be one of the largest shareholders of the US Congress Other excellent books on economics

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The Influence Machine [Read] ➫ The Influence Machine By Alyssa Katz – An illuminating history and groundbreaking investigation tracing how a single trade organization turned itself into the most dangerous political weapon in America When Americans hear the words “Cham An illuminating history and groundbreaking investigation tracing how a single trade organization turned itself into the most dangerous political weapon in America When The Influence MOBI :Ê Americans hear the words “Chamber of Commerce” many still think of the local business associations that spruce up Main Streets and sponsor Little League teams around the country But the United States Chamber of Commerce is a different animal altogether The Chamber was originally founded to give big business a voice during the long—and now almost inconceivable—period in American history that saw the rise of workers’ rights consumer protections and environmental awareness as national priorities But over time driven by an antigovernment ideology and its desire for financial and political power the Chamber metastasized into a fighting force designed to protect the worst excesses of American industry The Chamber through its veiled corporate sponsors can take credit for some of the most disturbing trends in American life the reversal of environmental protections the destruction of unions and worker protections the rise of virulent antigovernment ideology the enlarged role of money in campaigns and the creation of “astroturf” movements as cover for a corporate agenda Through its propaganda lobbying and campaign cash the Chamber has created a right wing monster that even it struggles to control a conservative movement that is destabilizing American democracy as never before The Influence Machine tells this history as a series of gripping narratives that take us into the backrooms of Washington where the battles over how our country is run and regulated are fought and then out into the world where we see how the Chamber’s campaigns play out in real lives In the end Alyssa Katz reveals the hidden weaknesses of this seeming juggernaut and shows how its antidemocratic agenda can be reversed.

  • Kindle Edition
  • 336 pages
  • The Influence Machine
  • Alyssa Katz
  • English
  • 10 September 2014

About the Author: Alyssa Katz

Alyssa Katz is a member of the editorial board of the New York Daily News She is the author of Our Lot How The Influence MOBI :Ê Real Estate Came to Own Us Bloomsbury about the making of the mortgage crisis Alyssa was previously editor of The New York World an investigative newsroom embedded at Columbia Journalism School and of City Limits an award winning magazine investigating the institutions and poli.