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)
Chang has laid a challenge down to free marketeers; stop making excuses for your failures, and start recognising the flaws in your theories. He lambasts economic ideologues with proof from history of the failure of their principles to help any but the rich, and points to some possible directions in which improvements may be possible.
The only weakness in this audio book is by the narrator's occasional mispronunciations and misplaced emphasis.
This book is so full of baseless assertions, I could not get even a third of the way through it. It reads like a socialist propaganda pamphlet.
I might be a little impatient and I did start flicking through chapters at the end, I would recommend listening to the book but only the first 5 min of last 14 points. I have to say I did take away a few really good points and questions on process, and what I though some solid arguments for the points being raised. The book was detracted from however in the second half as the view for the justifications started to get less factual and more "evangelical" in my view.
All in all I think a 4 star book if you do the "Abridged" version by listening to the first few chapters in full and then just the opening, as the reasoning becomes repetitive and the points less relevant.
I listened to this and then "The Age of Turbulence" gave an interesting view into some of the comments.
There were some great points raised that I think sparked the thought process and will continue to float in the back of my mind, especially when the discussion of "free markets", "wage control" etc arise.
Non-fiction, fiction--I read widely. Except bodice rippers. I'd rather pull my own eyelashes out than read romance. Avid, happy reader.
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!
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.
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.
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