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23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism Audiobook

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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  •  
    dCote 01-23-12
    dCote 01-23-12

    Again loving to experience books in a new way. Audible form with my handy ipod has given me the ability to "read"

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    "Accessible & Worthy"

    Appreciated the easy not overtly technical way Ha-Joon Chang laid out points on how USA have interpreted capitalism through domino choices. I walked away thinking Capitalism equals Politics whether that nature of leadership is in government or business with each describing and acquiring their own piece of the pie.

    Each thing was well explained and seemed uncomfortably factual. The first thing "there is no such thing as a free market" is like "fat-free" there is no such thing as free. Thing 4 "the washing machine has changed the world more than the Internet" helped me understand the efficiency and liberation of what inventiveness has and has not done for our political system. And especially right now, I totally agreed with thing 13 "making rich people richer doesn't make the rest of us richer" - there is no such thing has trickle down in a broad and lasting sense. Hence the 99% vs 1% protests. Thing 15 " People in poor countries are more entrepeneurial than people in rich countries" is just like a kid (adult or young) clamoring to be bored while having way too many toys in the box with the lack of motivation to master anyone of them. The gulp and contrary thought I had was on thing 22 with financial markets need to become less, not more, efficient".

    Chang's views seem arrestingly accurate and yet the reforms seem extremely far reaching with today's leadership. This easy to listen to book is for the "common day" person who is actually trying to understand how the USA is quivering and crumbling each day for a extremely high percentage of people.

    20 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nelson Alexander New York, NY, United States 01-30-11
    Nelson Alexander New York, NY, United States 01-30-11 Member Since 2007
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    "Tear Down this Myth"

    Our recent financial meltdown provided a truly dramatic, frightening, undeniable refutation of every single free market verity that has dominated Western thinking since Thatcher and Reagan. It was as if a gigantic mask slipped for a moment. In the event, when all the economic theories proved false, when we learned that our grotesquely overpaid bankers and CEOs have actually been destroying value not building it, what happened?

    They simply grabbed the money anyway. The Bush administration simply violated its own proclaimed ideology, pushed aside legal rules and constitutional niceties, and handed the plutocrats billions in taxpayer funds. It was not just socialism for the rich. It was more like the rich carrying out a brutal smash and grab job on a mammoth scale.

    Since that ugly crime, has free market ideology lost ground in the United States? Hardly. It has only lost its mind. As GOP dissents on the financial crisis report show, Marketism has evolved into a blind, violent fundamentalism complete with a rising cadre of political goons.

    Don't worry, Ha-Joon Chan isn't quite as virulent as I am. He is no fire breathing leftist. I liked this last book "Bad Samaritans" well enough to try this one, and found it an ideal primer on the economic (actually, political) myths that keep our system hurtling towards its next crisis. He takes 23 things you are likely to hear every free market ideologue (and most Americans) utter with confidence, and provides compelling rational and historical refutations.

    And nice tidbits. Did you know, for example, that Marx was actually a bigger fan of the joint stock corporation than was Adam Smith? The brief, thematic chapters and a good reading make this an ideal economics book for the audio format. It is pitched at the average reader, but even those with some background will learn a thing or two.

    Should be required reading for Marketism's brainwashed masses. If you are among them, be brave, read it and think.

    72 of 150 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rob United States 05-28-13
    rob United States 05-28-13 Member Since 2015
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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.


    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 04-14-12
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 04-14-12 Member Since 2015

    I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!

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    "What was I Thinging?"

    I support the free market and capitalism, but nothing is perfect, so I bought this book to see how it could be better. What I got was some unsubstantial arguments and a feeling of who cares.

    He starts out by saying we have no free market because we have laws such as you can not make cars that pollute. I understood this, but thought he was being pretty picky. This then was the foundation for much of the rest of what I listened to. He was as bad as Rush Limbaugh when it comes to cherry picking his arguments and putting words into those who disagree.

    I was educated in that I learned that large corporations that just try to make money for their share holders helped bring down manufacturing. I agreed, but did not see what I could do about this.

    Several of his things left me thinking, And I care Why?

    Unless your a socialist who likes listening to someone who thinks like you, I believe this to be a waste of your time.

    25 of 56 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.

    7 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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 32 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


    10 of 23 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.

    2 of 5 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.

    23 of 54 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian SCOTTSDALE, AZ, United States 07-05-13
    Brian SCOTTSDALE, AZ, United States 07-05-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Food for thought, or at least debate"
    What three words best describe Joe Barrett’s voice?

    Much more interesting NPR voice


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    More information about differnent countries handle unemployment/ job training/ welfare.


    Any additional comments?

    This is good for getting more information about how different countries work and other ideas to improve society as a whole. Worth a listen no matter how you feel about capitalism.

    4 of 10 people found this review helpful
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  • Andrew
    Gillingham, United Kingdom
    9/29/11
    Overall
    "Interesting if a bit one sided"

    This is an interesting take on the financial situation in the world at this time with some interesting concepts that are well thought out and explained. It did however come across as a bit one sided and whilst Ha-Joon tries to be moderate at times he sounds like a bit of a know-it-all and that he has the answers and is right and everyone else is simply wrong. The big contradiction I found with the book was in the first chapter he explains that there is no such thing as a truly "free market", which is true, but then go on in the next 23 chapters to explain why free market capitalism is wrong and doesn't work, something which he said in his own words doesn't exist. Given that I would still recommend it but don't just accept what he has written as gospel. Challenge your to challenge his ideas and think through them yourself and come to your own conclusion.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Ian
    Beaumaris, Australia
    12/5/11
    Overall
    "Could not get past the narrator's voice"

    Sadly I did not even get into the content because the narrator sounded like he was doing a movie trailer voiceover.

    What little of the content i heard was written in the same style as a student.

    1 of 8 people found this review helpful

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