Callahan, a co-founder of the public policy center Demos, identifies America's free-wheeling economic climate of the past 20 years as the cause of rampant cheating--corporate scandals, doping in sports, plagiarism by journalists and students, and corner-cutting in the most mundane matters--that is a major hidden cost of the boom years. The "Winning Class," he argues, has the money and clout to cheat without consequences, while the growing "Anxious Class" believes that choosing not to cheat will cost them their only shot at success in a winner-take-all world. Callahan uses interviews and data to show why all the cheating matters. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
Newspapers have reported on many cases of corporate fraud at the highest executive levels in the past two years, but Callahan cites other instances of people going to often questionable lengths to succeed. It's estimated that half of all major league baseball players are taking steroids to enhance their strength and performance. Many attorneys regularly overstate their hours to stay competitive with their colleagues. To get into the right college, high schoolers will turn in papers written by tutors, while their parents shop for psychologists willing to diagnose a learning disability to gain extra time on the SAT. Callahan, director of public policy center Demos and frequent TV commentator, has a simple explanation for this proliferation of cheating. In a cutthroat economic climate, everybody wants to get ahead, and decades of deregulation have made it easy to bend the rules. He further argues that when the middle class sees wealthy cheaters get away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist, it inspires them to follow suit. A fairly obvious premise, to be sure, but the book's strength lies in tying together assorted detailed descriptions of cheating throughout the system and explaining the connections between disparate acts like r sum inflation, tax evasion and illegal downloads. He offers straightforward, commonsensical solutions, including increased funding for federal enforcement agencies. (Jan.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.