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23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism | [Ha-Joon Chang]

23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism

If you've wondered how we did not see the economic collapse coming, Ha-Joon Chang knows the answer: We didn't ask what they didn't tell us about capitalism. This is a lighthearted book with a serious purpose: to question the assumptions behind the dogma and sheer hype that the dominant school of neoliberal economists-the apostles of the freemarket-have spun since the Age of Reagan.
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Publisher's Summary

Thing 1: There is no such thing as the free market.
Thing 4: The washing machine has changed the world more than the Internet.
Thing 5: Assume the worst about people, and you get the worst.
Thing 13: Making rich people richer doesn't make the rest of us richer.

If you've wondered how we did not see the economic collapse coming, Ha-Joon Chang knows the answer: We didn't ask what they didn't tell us about capitalism. This is a lighthearted book with a serious purpose: to question the assumptions behind the dogma and sheer hype that the dominant school of neoliberal economists - the apostles of the freemarket - have spun since the Age of Reagan.

Chang, the author of the international best seller Bad Samaritans, is one of the world's most respected economists, a voice of sanity - and wit - in the tradition of John Kenneth Galbraith and Joseph Stiglitz.

23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism equips listeners with an understanding of how global capitalism works - and doesn't. In his final chapter, "How to Rebuild the World", Chang offers a vision of how we can shape capitalism to humane ends, instead of becoming slaves of the market.

Ha-Joon Chang teaches in the Faculty of Economics at the University of Cambridge. His books include the best-selling Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism. His Kicking Away the Ladder received the 2003 Myrdal Prize, and, in 2005, Chang was awarded the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.

©2011 Ha-Joon Chang (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Shaking Economics 101 assumptions to the core … Eminently accessible, with a clearly liberal (or at least anticonservative) bent, but with surprises along the way—for one, the thought that markets need to become less rather than more efficient." (Kirkus Reviews)

"An advocate of big, active government and capitalism as distinct from a free market, 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: 'This will make some readers uncomfortable... it is time to get uncomfortable.'" (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Paul Long Island City, NY, United States 01-17-12
    Paul Long Island City, NY, United States 01-17-12 Member Since 2014

    I get a high from learning new things and seeing the world in a different light. Books do that for me and audio books fit my daily routine.

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    "Time to revisit our assumptions about the economy!"

    I enjoyed the way this book turned many of my previously held assumptions or beliefs up-side-down. The author clearly skewers the economic policies of the free marketeers by demonstrating the flaws in their logic, the important factors they failed to consider, and by presenting the evidence that counters their flawed theories. Everyone interested in the politics and the economy should give this a listen.

    14 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rodi NORWALK, CT, United States 03-06-12
    rodi NORWALK, CT, United States 03-06-12 Member Since 2014
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    "A great read and a fascinating view"

    As someone who grew up in communist Eastern Europe and now lives in the ultimate capitalistic state (the US), I thoroughly enjoyed "reading" this fascinating breakdown of the balance between free capitalism and help/control from the government. It opened my eyes to many things I never knew about how countries don't necessarily do as they preach and a lot of the "advice" to weaker economies is contrary to what is needed for genuine improvement.

    6 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rupe Jacksonville, FL, United States 01-25-12
    Rupe Jacksonville, FL, United States 01-25-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Awesome and Informative"
    If you could sum up 23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism in three words, what would they be?

    Informative, Interesting, Well-written


    Any additional comments?

    One of the most interesting and informative books I have read in a very long time.

    It touched on such a broad array of areas that covered such diverse and often mundane topics such as market forces, economy, poverty, one could easily get lost.

    The author undoubtedly is a great teacher - something rare of very smart people...the ability to impart to others what's in their minds. A must read!

    5 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael United States 04-08-11
    Michael United States 04-08-11 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent: Loved it!"

    Every point Ha-Joon Chang makes about Capitalism is supported by examples. Every point is very relevant to the world of economics and monetary system structure. This is the best published work I have found advocating a rethinking of our world's monetary and political systems.

    In the end this book advocates capitalism and democracy. It suggests that certain ideologies have allowed policies to drift over the decades causing us to loose sight of long term planning, among other things, partially contributing to the greater economic instability felt worldwide today.

    Offering excellent data to defend more equatable financial and monetary policies this book is a must have for those interested in monetary policy, finance or economics. However, it requires no prior knowledge of such subjects making it a good introductory book to these subjects.

    Unfortunately, there is no technical data about how a improved democratic-capitalistic government-markets would operate but, it definitely establishes a precedent for such work.

    21 of 50 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Hunt Takoma Park, MD 03-05-13
    Ryan Hunt Takoma Park, MD 03-05-13 Member Since 2014

    Ryan Hunt

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    "Good information - a little dry"
    What did you love best about 23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism?

    I liked the book, but I may not be the intended audience. I struggled to get through it. Very dry.


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Len Cambridge, MA, USA 11-28-12
    Len Cambridge, MA, USA 11-28-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Bullet point style doesn't work well for audiobook"

    I thought "Bad Samaritans," another book by Chang also available here, was the best nonfiction audiobook I have listened to, so I was happy to have the chance to listen to "23 Things" as well.

    This one is a bit of a disappointment as an audiobook, because it relies on a "bullet point" style, with headlines announcing the received economic wisdom and then Chang's refutations. This probably makes for a visually appealing book, but it doesn't work so well in the audiobook format, and I found myself getting lost quite a bit.

    The audiobook reader doesn't help by over-enunciating phrases which often the points Chang is actually trying to refute. The reader sounds a bit like Casey Kasem delivering a Top 40 list, which detracted from the seriousness of Chang's ideas.

    As a complete stranger to economics, I learned much from this appealing book, but I had to rewind often to follow the flow of the argument. I may just check out the physical book from the library instead of trying to listen to it again.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gayle 02-01-12
    Gayle 02-01-12
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    "If you love straw men you will love this book."
    Would you try another book from Ha-Joon Chang and/or Joe Barrett?

    This book is balderdash. Hacked up complaints about capitalism - create a straw man and bravely execute him. If you want to learn something, hear an important argument, find a great insight, I have only one bit of advice - look elsewhere!


    Would you ever listen to anything by Ha-Joon Chang again?

    No


    Which character – as performed by Joe Barrett – was your favorite?

    N/a


    What character would you cut from 23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism?

    N/A


    8 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Rosburg, WA, United States 01-30-12
    Beth Rosburg, WA, United States 01-30-12
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    "great commentary"
    Would you listen to 23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism again? Why?

    I recommend taking notes, if you want to be conversant on this topic. Written by a guy who is not wild about our modern version of 'free market' capitalism. A very good analysis. I recommend this book.


    4 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rob United States 05-28-13
    rob United States 05-28-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Nothing to Say"
    What would have made 23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism better?

    If the author didn't hide behind his understanding of the issue in order to promote his agenda. There are brief snippets that we see the author stating that we do not have capitalism, but rather than addressing that fact he is constantly setting up strawmen in order to push a story. His interpretation of history like his definition of capitalism is questionable, but he never stops to discuss, each section is a sprint in order to get to the point he can shout about how bad free exchange is. Nothing new, interesting, or true here.


    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elicka 03-26-12
    Elicka 03-26-12 Member Since 2010

    Non-fiction, fiction--I read widely. Except bodice rippers. I'd rather pull my own eyelashes out than read romance. Avid, happy reader.

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    "DON'T BE INTIMIDATED--EXCELLENT and INTERESTING!"

    I have to admit, this book languished in my library for awhile before I read it, in part because I assumed it would be less than, er, fun to read. Boy, was I wrong. I bought it because I've always felt embarrassingly inept and uninformed about finance and economics, and hoped to bone up a bit, as clearly, things in that area have been going awry for some time. As such, I thought this book might help me gain a better understanding . . . it certainly did.

    This is not anti-capitalist at all, by the way--if anything, it's anti-(so called) free market economics. The big surprise is how interesting this book is. There's nothing dry about it--I couldn't put it down. I felt great when I finished it--empowered, well-informed . . . . It's one of those books that you want to recommend to everyone the moment you finish it.

    Finally, it's extremely well-written, and the narrator does a great job with it. You'll be glad you bought this!

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
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