23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

Book - 2011
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Challenges popular misconceptions while making startling revelations about free-market practices, explaining the author's views on global capitalism dynamics while making recommendations for reshaping capitalism to humane ends.
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury Press ; 2011, c2010.
ISBN: 9781608191666
1608191664
Characteristics: xviii, 286 p. ; 22 cm.

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1
1aa
Mar 30, 2017

This is a great little book that is easy to read and understand, and has its readability enhanced by its brief chapters, each dealing with some widely espoused nostrum (mostly about macroeconomics), and then debunking it, or at least clarifying and qualifying substantially. Citizens of any political leaning can learn from it and reconsider their views and more knowledgeably evaluate the positions of politicians.

d
Dlark
May 17, 2016

Ha-Joon Chang has somewhat comfortably switched his focus from in-depth historical/economic research to critical/informative texts meant for a wider audience. "Bad Samartians" and "Kicking Away the Ladder" remain two of the most cited and well-known texts on reconceptualizing development theory in an age of neoliberalism (free market capitalism). That said, while this text may not contain in-depth or contributory research and vigour, it is an absolutely invaluable compilation of facts and contradictions pertinent to understanding the global political economy today. Those who are unsatisfied might rightfully have expected more from Chang, but any reader familiar with his work and career trajectory should appreciate his attempt at reaching out to and 're-educating' the general population.

j
jdstuckey
Mar 19, 2015

A readable version of the misinformation spouted by all socialist economists. The author claims to favor capitalism as the best economic system invented, but adds the qualifier "yet" and proceeds to write 23 short chapters that disprove his own claim. Joco5 pinned it perfectly, the book consists of 23 strawman arguments taken to their extreme, which the author then destroys. A good book to read if you want a concise, non-jargon summary of the socialist viewpoint of economics, dressed up to look more reasonable to the average reader.

s
StarGladiator
Mar 30, 2014

Let me preface my remarks by stating that I like Prof. Chang, but unfortunately his indoctrination on predatory capitalism has taken too strong a hold, so that while his scholarship in financial history is most excellent, his reasoning frequently falls by the wayside. When, for instance, has there ever existed a free market? Both Prof. Chang and Prof. Galbraith read (and are included in the acknowledgements) Barry Lynn's highly erroneous book, Cornered. That is a major, major shortcoming, which is why so many economists are hung out to dry by the disingenuous and dishonest as their understanding of finance, global finance and forensic finance is highly wanting!

c
crm57d
Sep 02, 2013

Unlike Joco5, I thought the 'strawmen' were a reasonably accurate summary of the comments of, inter alia, Greenberg and in Canada journalism, Andrew Coyne. I normally agree with Coyne's economic and social columns. But I found the author persuasive, which is difficult for me to admit.
In the aftermath of 2008, and the lack of accountability especially in the U.S., I can't believe that the author's suggestions for change are politically implementable. But that leaves me with the nightmare that it is all going to happen again, and even more swiftly.
Read the book, and make up your own mind. It is eminently readable, yet challenging to the accepted wisdom in at least economic politics in Canad and especially the U. S.

d
delfon
Apr 30, 2012

The author takes the same tack as with Bad Samaritans and generalizes from hypotheses. Given the propensity of modern economies to criticize protectionist measures by others, the argument is presented as a fait amcompli -- Some of the authors assertions are probably true and some are definitively false and not researched enough. However, the ease of style makes for an interesting comparison with the outright lies and misinformation postulated by free marketeers (economists and politicians). Is a country ready for free trade -- no historical example exists which can show a developing country (Canada) ever benefits.Resource industry forcus, is our current govt's aim; yet, this is the very direction leading to lack of social mobility (of which Canada must be dead last). The affinity to idealogy that hurts the working person is one of the perplexing 'things' not directly brought out. Why starvation and deprivation is such a prime plank of the free tradists is beyond me, -- unless they want to maintain their own bloated existance and frustrate everyone else.

tedward07 Feb 22, 2012

This book should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand current politics and economics.

f
fpm
Oct 15, 2011

The author (a proponent of capitalism) takes a careful look at many widely accepted "truisms". In short, easily digested bits, he tears many of these to shreds. You probably won't agree with everything that he says (though he uses very solid statistics and reasoning to support his contentions). Still, these truisms have led us to an economy that has failed most of us in some important ways. Re-evaluating the basis for our economy (and our politics) is definitely needed.

t
toby1kenobi
Mar 16, 2011

Thing 1: There is no such thing as a free market

m
matthewmina
Feb 26, 2011

Really interesting book. However it is annoying that he keeps referencing things with "see thing 5" etc. etc. Gives interesting perspectives on how capitalism differs between countries.

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