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)
Are you someone who likes to hear views that are different, or do you just want information that will support what you already think? If it is the latter, then forget this book - you will probably just get mad like one of the other reviewers. If it is the former, then get ready to get your world-view rocked. That does not mean that I ended up agreeing with everything - I have criticisms for every book and this book is simply too wide-ranging for its size to be able to make every argument fully - but I really appreciated seeing the different perspective. I have read Milton Friedman, and this is the other side. The book gave me a lot to think about, and it left me knowing less than before, which I think is a good thing.
Eye opening unassailable logic.
required reading for life in the modern world
The World would be so much better if everyone understood the truths in this book.
A lot of interesting concepts and ideas, although much of it seems to be quite biased. The author seems to have fairly firmly established opinions and does his best to present these in a convincing way to the reader.
The facts and statistics that are presented as evidence for the "things" are all very interesting but frequently feel very unscientific. If comparing whether policy A or policy B is the best choice for economic development, it's not enough to say that "Look at country X, they used policy A and it gave them i% growth rate, while country Y used policy B and got j% growth rate." Those data points are not enough to give any sort of statistical indication without also considering a thousand other factors, and the author never acknowledges this by saying that "careful statistical analysis shows that..." so as a reader I don't know whether the arguments are pulled out of thin air or really just a huge simplification of a proper scientific study. I realize that the book aims at laymen with no background in economics (which surely matches me) but that's not really an excuse if it doesn't give me as a reader good confidence that the author has a firm basis for his claims.
The above situation actually extends to the whole book. I can accept that the "things" the author presents may very well be true, but reading the book I still get the impression that I'm not reading a neutral academic description but rather a manifesto.
The book is still very interesting though, and I'm not saying that the conclusions are wrong, in fact many of them seem very plausible to me (as a layman, once again). I'm sure that the argumentative rather than scientific format wouldn't at all feel as notable if it wasn't for the controversial topic of the book. With the world's financial system currently in turmoil it's clear that this isn't just light reading about economics, it's an opinion piece.
Bottom line, it's a good read and I can recommend it to any non-economists willing to hear a refreshing second opinion about our current capitalistic system.
I liked the book, but I may not be the intended audience. I struggled to get through it. Very dry.
A liberal's view of what's right and wrong with both free market and government controlled economics.
This book is a lucid and clear disquisition on what goes for "free market" thinking. It examines 23 commonly expressed platitudes about economics and where they fail to explain economic and financial processes. It thereby provides interesting insights to the financial failures of 2008 and the present days. The reading matches the writing, making it difficult to put down. I now want to review the arguments on paper, as they are worthy of closer study.
The author should learn something about what he is going to criticize before he sets about criticizing it. But then, if he did, he wouldn't have written the book at all.
The scene where the wealth created by the rich person got magically "redistributed up" from the poor person that didn't create it, to the rich person that did. It was confusing, but hilarious!
He does make a few good points, such as how certain political factors are incorporated into, and shape, markets, without free-market proponents noticing (in chapter 1). On the other hand, he proves practically none of his assertions, and most of his arguments "against" capitalism are based on his own misunderstandings of free-market arguments, i.e., straw-man arguments. As an avid free-marketer myself, I welcome *valid* opposing viewpoints. This book does not supply that.
this book provides great insights and alternative ways of interpreting economic observations in a concise and coherent manner. healthy focus on developmental economics.
Reading book is good because that means you got time to do what you enjoy.
The book is well written and easy to read. Chang pointed out many examples against idealistic free market economics. While I am believer in free market, I still find this book informtive and interesting. Afterall, skepticism is an important part of intellectual critical thinking in any discipline.
Should be mandatory reading for all politicians and bankers.
He does not stumble over the big words.
Global finances 101.
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