A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity

A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity

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by Luigi Zingales

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A forceful and sometimes personal look at how pro-business forces overwhelmed the pro-market principles that made American capitalism great, and how to get it back on track.

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A forceful and sometimes personal look at how pro-business forces overwhelmed the pro-market principles that made American capitalism great, and how to get it back on track.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Zingales, a finance professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and coauthor of Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists, presents a striking dichotomy: most Americans endorse the free market system, but fear the power of big business. In an engaging if imprecise argument, he suggests that channeling “populist anger” can reinvigorate the “power of competition” and reverse the movement toward a “crony system.” Pro–free market beliefs are reflected in U.S. history, Zingales shows: contrary to world norms, here democracy preceded industrialization, and the mobility of the frontier encouraged personal initiative. As the government’s role in the economy has exploded, however—between 1900 and 2005 the fraction of GDP controlled by government rose eightfold—big business has turned this to its benefit. Zingales maintains that disenchantment with the bank bailouts of both the Bush and Obama administrations makes today a potent moment for the public to demand systemic reform, and persuasively demonstrates the urgent need for action. However, the specifics of his proposed remedies—including “equality of opportunity,” enhanced competition, market-based ethics, lobbying restraints, and public access to economic data—are vague rather than a clarion call. Of more value is his insight that intellectual and economic freedom are intertwined, and that business schools and academics can promote the common good by encouraging true competition and truly free markets. Agent: Eric Lupfer, WME. (June)
From the Publisher

Futures Magazine
“Luigi Zingales lays out the glaring defects that have come to corrode our current economic system in a very easy to understand picture.... Recommended reading for those interested in the evolving nature of our interconnected system of government and the economy.”

Bloomberg View
“[F]ascinating.... Zingales provides an enormous service by laying out such persuasive evidence.”

National Review Online
“[A Capitalism for the People] is the book that hits closest to the mark on the question of where the American center-right ought to go in the next few years.”

Sacramento Bee
“Zingales offers more than rehashed Friedman or Hayek. It’s a book that should appeal to tea partyers and the Occupy Wall Street crowd.”

Publishers Weekly
“Zingales…presents a striking dichotomy.... Engaging.”

Financial Times
“Zingales’s fundamental diagnosis is right.... [T]his remains a stimulating essay on the nature of American capitalism and the issues that will determine the pace of America’s relative decline.”

Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen
“I know you have book fatigue, popular economics book fatigue, policy book fatigue, and books-with-subtitles-like-this fatigue, all at once. But this book is really, really good. It hits all the right notes, is clearly written, and refers to academics as the new crony capitalists. I agreed with almost all of it. If I had to pick out one book, of this entire lot of books, to explain what is going on right now to a popular audience of non-economists, this might well be it.”

J. Bradford DeLong, University of California, Berkeley
“More than 30 years ago, Milton and Rose Director Friedman raised high the banner of small-government free-market libertarianism with their Free to Choose. Now, a generation later, income inequality is substantially higher, the globe is even more interconnected, and our partial financial deregulation has backfired badly. Luigi Zingales thus has a harder task as he tries to update the small-government free-market libertarian position for the 21st century. But he has done a very good job at it.”

Robert J. Shiller, author of Finance and the Good Society

“This remarkably creative book, driven by a strong moral conviction, offers a bold array of ideas for us to ponder, so we can really make the American capitalist model work better for everyone.”

Edmund S. Phelps, Director, Center on Capitalism and Society, Columbia University
“In A Capitalism for the People, Luigi Zingales joins the small but influential group of economists who see that America’s economy is now more and more corporatist, less and less capitalist. His impressive account of our downhill slide is enriched by his deep knowledge of the harm wrought by the worst excesses of Italian crony capitalism. A must-read.”

Nell Minow, co-author of Corporate Governance and co-owner and board member of GMI Ratings
“An especially accessible and holistic assessment of what went wrong in our financial markets and an especially thoughtful and constructive proposal for the future.  Highly recommended!”

Paul Ryan, U.S. Congressman, Wisconsin
“In A Capitalism for the People, Luigi Zingales exposes the pernicious collusion of big business and big government – offering the sharp analytical perspective of a world-renowned economist and the unique personal perspective of an immigrant living the American Dream. This must-read for policymakers and citizens alike serves as a lucid call to action for rediscovering what makes America exceptional.”

N. Gregory Mankiw, Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics, Harvard University, and author of Principles of Economics

A Capitalism for the People is a wise, deep, and timely book. With lively prose, Zingales diagnoses what is right and wrong with the U.S. economy. Whether your political sympathies lie with the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, or someplace in between, you will learn much about how we can best promote an economic future that works for all of us.”

The Economist

“[A]n elegy to the America (Zingles) found when he moved here 24 years ago.”

Washington Post
“[An] accessible and powerfully argued book.”

John R. Talbott, Huffington Post
“[O]utstanding.... I give the book my ultimate compliment; it is so full of new and innovative ideas that it makes you pause and think on every page.” National Review“[W]e are fortunate to have an Italian-born economist so powerfully and persuasively defending America’s once exceptional free-enterprise system.” Co.Exist, a blog of Fast Company “Zingales is readable, engaging, and full of insight. A Capitalism For The People is worth the time of anyone, left or right, who cares about the future of the American market system.”

Adam Ozimek, Modeled Behavior, a blog on Forbes.com
“[A Capitalism for the People is] unquestionably insightful and thought-provoking, and it has plenty of smart policy recommendations….I do strongly recommend A Capitalism for the People to anyone looking for a robust and pragmatic vision of free market economics directed at current problems.”

LA Progressive
“Zingales is excellent.”

Iain Martin, The Telegraph
“[A] brilliant and important new book.”

Mechanics Institute Library
“[Zingales] provides a forceful look at how pro-business forces overwhelmed the pro-market principles that made American capitalism great, and how we can get it back on track. This book should have a wide readership, from the Occupy Wall Street crowd to Tea Partyers.”

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Product Details

Basic Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
New Edition
Product dimensions:
6.52(w) x 9.34(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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