23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism (英語) ペーパーバック – 2012/1/17
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The acclaimed Ha-Joon Chang is a voice of sanity-and wit-in this lighthearted book with a serious purpose: to question the assumptions behind the dogma and sheer hype that the dominant school of neoliberal economists have spun since the Age of Reagan. 23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism uses twenty-three short essays (a few great examples: "There Is No Such Thing as a Free Market," "The Washing Machine Has Changed the World More than the Internet Has") to equip readers with an understanding of how global capitalism works, and doesn't, while offering a vision of how we can shape capitalism to humane ends, instead of becoming slaves of the market.
Praise for 23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism:
"A lively, accessible and provocative book."-Sunday Times (UK )
"Chang, befitting his position as an economics professor at Cambridge University, is engagingly thoughtful and opinionated at a much lower decibel level. 'The "truths" peddled by free-market ideologues are based on lazy assumptions and blinkered visions,' he charges."-Time
"Chang, befitting his position as an economics professor at Cambridge University, is engagingly thoughtful and opinionated at a much lower decibel level." - Time
"Chang presents an enlightening précis of modern economic thought-and all the places it's gone wrong, urging us to act in order to completely rebuild the world economy" - Publishers Weekly
"I doubt there is one book, written in response to the current economic crisis, that is as fun or easy to read as Ha-Joon Chang's 23 Things They Don't Tell you About Capitalism." - AlterNet Executive Editor Don Hazen
"Myth-busting and nicely-written collection of essays." - Independent (UK)
"A lively, accessible and provocative book." - Sunday Times (UK)商品の説明をすべて表示する
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I enjoyed reading this book. Although the ideas are complex, Prof. Chang offers them in straightforward, clear prose that doesn't require you to use a dictionary (fluent English readers, that is. I recommend it.
In my country India for instance, we have suffered from socialism for 40+ years before we opened up the economy in 1991. Things have dramatically changed since then, making India as one of the largest growing economies in the world. India still does not follow the US style free markets and there are still lot of government interventions/ control in large majority of areas. But they are doing really bad, and when losses go beyond reach, the government thinks of disinvesting and privatizing those sectors. So there are a lot of developing economies where free markets can infact do wonders. But again that may not be ideal solutions for all countries.
Another tremendous economics book. Literally shaking the foundations of the present Weltbild. Splinters of Chang's hammering will forcibly, or at least probably, also hit the present paradigm of economic science.
What are the real market forces? Is market economy just a battlefield of grass root forces? Chang throws 23 stones to break the old beliefs in this respect. He asks respect to government power by remarkable quantitative argumentation, but without use of snobbish scientific methods, just using common sense and well related percentages, mostly very convincing. His main trend is that countries and economies with well organized government do better than governments only lightly interfering the market process.
Very descriptive are the headings of this book, such as: There is no such thing as a free market, The washing machine has changed the world more than the internet has, Governments can pick winners, We are not smart enough to leave things to the market or Good economic policy does not require good economists.
From my nordic standpoint it is flattering and even complimentary that it seems that in all comparisons my tiny country Finland is mentioned among the exemplary models.
How persuasive as his argumentation may be, I do not get completely rid of my suspicions and confusions. On one hand Chang praises the role of government regulation: Governments can pick winners, on the other, he gives full credit to market system, if, however, in the spirit of it being the least harmful of all available systems. Communism has clearly shown its merits by ending up to complete failure. Although one of his headings is: Despite the fall of communism, we are still living in planned economies. The next heading is: Equality of opportunity may not be fair and after this: Big government makes people more open to change.
As conclusion Chang bravely says his opinion: how to rebuild the world economy. He formulates eight directives or more modestly principles as he says.
The first of then is drawn from a word of a surprising big authority, Winston Churchill, paraphrasing just what I already cited above: 'capitalism is the worst economic system except for all the others'. In the light of what we have read it is not surprising that Chang's criticism is of free-market capitalism, and not all kinds of capitalism.
Second: we should build our new economic system on the recognition that human rationality is severely limited.
Third: while acknowledging that we are not selfless angels, we should build a system that brings out the best, rather than worst, in people.
Fourth: we should stop believing that people are always paid what they ‘deserve’.
Fifth: we need to take ‘making things’ more seriously.
Sixth: we need to strike a better balance between finance and ‘real’ activities.
Seventh: government needs to become bigger and more active.
Eighth: the world economic system needs to ‘unfairly’ favour developing countries.
Who could dispute these? Every one of them is worth pondering and referring to Chang's argumentation throughout the 23 stone hard pieces of text in his book. No way of avoiding full five stars.
I myself in front of a completely different present view of the state of my country's economy compared to Chang's am planning to cook up a new utopistic general economic theory. I have decided to base it on only two corner stones: Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and Keynes's General Theory. Keeping strictly to these two. Being ready to mend and change, if trying to present anything in conflict with these. Now having read Chang's 23 Things, I have decided to ad this book as the third corner stone to my utopy. Three corner stones for an utopistic structure are more than enough, particularly as the structure is ready done, lacking just the start, as says a wisecracking proverb of my homestead Savo.