The Trouble with Capitalism: An Enquiry into the Causes of Global Economic Failure by Harry Shutt, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Trouble with Capitalism: An Enquiry into the Causes of Global Economic Failure

The Trouble with Capitalism: An Enquiry into the Causes of Global Economic Failure

by Harry Shutt
     
 

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We have grown accustomed to the notions of the end of history and that the current variant of free market capitalism is the only game in town. But how sound are the foundations of the global economy? The remarkable analysis contained in this book forsakes the shibboleths of both the Left and liberal economists to examine the actual behavior--patterns and

Overview

We have grown accustomed to the notions of the end of history and that the current variant of free market capitalism is the only game in town. But how sound are the foundations of the global economy? The remarkable analysis contained in this book forsakes the shibboleths of both the Left and liberal economists to examine the actual behavior--patterns and tendencies--of economic institutions in the OECD countries of the 1980s and 90s. The conclusions are disturbing. The author uncovers profound sources of instability. Low growth has become endemic. There is a chronic surplus of capital. New technology is not solving either of these problems or structural unemployment. Meanwhile, the pursuit of neo-liberal economic orthodoxy by an emasculated state has only worsened the situation and the evidence of social dislocation is all about us. This is a book that must be read by every politician and thinking citizen still harboring illusions about the capacity of mere shifts in policy to return us to the golden era of the Sixties when high growth and full employment were the norm.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Former senior research consultant with the Economist, Shutt is no laissez-faire Thatcherite. In this succinct analysis, Shutt argues that investors and governments lusting for exponential returns in a contracting economy have pushed global markets to the edge of an abyss. Dismissing supply-siders and the notion that technology and global trade create more and better jobs, his research has found instead increasing structural unemployment, diminishing returns to labor and capital and diminishing ability to tax. He notes, as Western media is loathe to do, that government policies of corporate welfare, privatization and financial bailouts represent an irresponsible transfer of present and future wealth from citizens to corporations, resulting in debilitating government debt that in turn is dumped into the market to stimulate greater returns. Western policies toward the IMF repeatedly cripple less-developed countries with misconceived economic reforms that plunder assets and explode debt. The result is a pyramid scheme in which Western governments pump up global financial markets, underwriting profligate bank practices and manipulating financial markets. Shutt argues that parabolic rises in markets, CEO compensation and political campaign funding masquerade such recycling as real growth. Shutt's solutions posit an encompassing "collective responsibility," whose lack he consistently laments. Shutt is one of the few to expose capitalism's lies and imperfections, faults that critically threaten our democratic survival into the next century. (Aug.)
Library Journal
With the bull market throttling along, interest rates remaining low, inflation nonexistent, and people's expectations for the future high, an optimist would say that a strong economy will surely be with us for a while. But Shutt, a consultant formerly with the Economist Intelligence Unit, takes a more pessimistic view of how capitalism works, pointing to signs of instability that appear to be corroding the global economy--low growth, a surplus of capital, floundering technology, etc. In this thoughtful, if at times overly academic, treatment of the current economic scene, one feels convinced by the end that the collapse of Western civilization as we know it is at hand; given the recent ongoing Asian currency crisis, Shutt may have a point about instability. But the book, in the author's own words, is more "predictive" than "prescriptive," and its lack of any concrete or even coherent alternatives is a major disappointment. For a better discussion, see Lester Thurow's The Future of Capitalism (LJ 11/1/95). Not recommended.--Richard S. Drezen, Washington Post News Research Ctr., Washington, DC
Booknews
Economist Shutt dispels illusions connected with what seems to be a worldwide consensus that laissez-faire capitalism has demonstrated its superiority and is the clear direction for the future. Looking closely at capitalism's history, weak points, and worldwide trends, he asserts that a wholesale redrawing of economic institutions and rules of the game is inevitable. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781856495653
Publisher:
Zed Books
Publication date:
08/28/1998
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.54(w) x 8.83(h) x 0.91(d)

Meet the Author

Harry Shutt is a former Senior Research Consultant with the Economist Intelligence Unit.

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