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.
"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)
I particularly liked the points about education, immigration and service economy because he explains so well why some of these things that most are quite inclined to believe in might not be such good ideas after all.
It promotes some reflection about asumptions that we often consider to be self-evident.
Overall I thing Chang was successful in offering up an alternative viewpoint to the free-market capitalism rhetoric that is prominent in certain circles. However I find some of the arguments presented very thin and I do believe that Chang picks and chooses historical perspective when it suits his argument. I also believe that he does over-simplify many arguments for the his opposition. With that said, in other respects he does present data and case studies that suggest that the "free-market" policies should be more scrutinized and not taken as common sense.
The author's focus is on the problems free trade has caused in the world's markets. I have not read his first book, Bad Samaritans, but I will now based on what I learned from this book.
An excellent introduction for someone with no background in economics. Yet, so one-sided it's not even funny. Feels like only half the story.
I love the fact that I can listen to a capitalist who can distinguish between reality (humans are not necessarily rational and the market will not necessarily create the best outcomes if left alone) and fantasy (free markets are the ultimate moral force). I now have a much clearer understanding of where the economy has gone wrong, and what can be done about it. Excellent!
Again loving to experience books in a new way. Audible form with my handy ipod has given me the ability to "read"
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.
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.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
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.
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!
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.
"Simple and insightful"
On the whole, a great book if you would like to learn about the mechanisms of modern capitalism. The author generally keeps it simple and explains any jargon that is necessary. I did get a little bored occasionally when numerous facts and figures are mentioned but this is obviously important with a book about economics.
"A very important book!"
I think this should be mandatory in colleges across the globe. To say its an eye opener would be understatement of the highest order. At once anger inducing and jaw dropping, the book reveals some real truths about our supposed "experts" who sit on high. Excellent book!
"Honestly political expose - restores common sense"
The book explains the difference between politics and structure in national economic choices, their contemporary effects, and where the political levers (and true facts) actually are.
I don't read books like this normally, so no comparison yet.
Comfort with the actual honesty about the political nature of the choices and recommendations. Happy to hear well articulated versions of some of the notions I had already formulated. Trouble at the - not entirely new - insights to the not-yet-being-fixed western education systems.
I'll be listening to this a few times - making it very good value too.
"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.
"Should be mandatory reading"
I found his book so accessible and enlightening because of the wonderful way Ha-Joon Chang presents problems related to the Economy. I think that this book should be compulsory reading for all Economists past and present. A wonderful introduction to why the world got itself into its various problems and how it could avoid future ones.
"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.
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