Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System

Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System

by Philip Kotler


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With one side of the political aisle proposing increasingly more socialistic and anti-capitalistic ideas, the other side has been quick to defend our country’s great economic model, with good reason. Capitalism—spanning a spectrum from laissez faire to authoritarian—shapes the market economies of all the wealthiest and fastest-growing nations. But does that mean it is perfect as is, and that we would not all benefit from an honest evaluation and reconstruction of the free market system that has shaped our country’s way of economic growth? The truth is, trouble is cracking capitalism’s shiny veneer. In the US, Europe, and Japan, economic growth has slowed down. Wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few; natural resources are exploited for short-term profit; and good jobs are hard to find. In Confronting Capitalism, business expert Philip Kotler explains 14 major problems undermining capitalism, including:• Persistent and increasing poverty• Automation’s effects on job creation• High debt burdens• Steep environmental costs• Boom-bust economic cycles• And moreBut this landmark book does not stop with merely revealing the problems. It also delivers a heartening message: We can turn things around! Movements toward shared prosperity and a higher purpose are reinvigorating companies large and small, while proposals abound on government policies that offer protections without stagnation. Kotler identifies the best ideas, linking private and public initiatives into a force for positive change, and offers suggestions for returning to a healthier, more sustainable capitalism that works for all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814436455
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 04/15/2015
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 865,671
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Philip Kotler is the S.C. Johnson Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Widely acknowledged as the world's foremost expert on strategic marketing, Professor Kotler is also a classically trained economist. He earned his Master's in Economics at the University of Chicago under the famed Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, who represented free-market thinking. He went on to pursue his Ph.D. at MIT under Paul Samuelson and Robert Solow, two Nobel Prize-winning economists who represented Keynesian thinking. "Many economists are not aware that the field of marketing originated as an economics discipline," Kotler observes. In his latest book, CONFRONTING CAPITALISM: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System (AMACOM; April 2015), he draws on his outstanding background in economics, as well as his esteemed knowledge of marketing, to offer unique insights into the inner workings of capitalism. "Capitalism, management, and marketing must be joined in a comprehensive framework to understand marketplace developments and impacts," Kotler contends. "I hope this book achieves that goal." Throughout his career, Dr. Kotler has received numerous honors and awards. He claims 22 Honorary Degrees, including five from Schools of Economics: Athens School of Economics (1995), Cracow School of Economics (1998), Budapest School of Economic Science (2001), Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest (2005), and Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics in Moscow (2014). In a Financial Times survey of leading global executives, Philip Kotler ranked fourth among the most Influential Business Writers/Management Gurus, following Peter Drucker, Bill Gates, and Jack Welch. He was also ranked the sixth most influential business thinker, following Gary Hamel, Thomas L. Friedman, Bill Gates, Malcolm Gladwell, and Howard Gardner, by the Wall Street Journal. Voted the first Leader in Marketing Thought by the American Marketing Association and named The Founder of Modern Marketing Management in the Handbook of Management Thinking, he has been recognized with a Distinguished Marketing Educator Award from the American Marketing Association and a Distinguished Educator Award from The Academy of Marketing Science. On his 75th birthday, Professor Kotler was honored with a commemorative postage stamp from Indonesia. Philip Kotler has consulted for IBM, General Electric, ATT, Honeywell, Bank of America, Merck, and other organizations on marketing strategy, planning, and organization. He has advised governments on how to develop and position the skills and resources of their companies for global competition. He has published more than 150 articles in leading journals, including the Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, Journal of Marketing, Management Science, and the Journal of Business Strategy. He has also authored over 50 books on all aspects of marketing, including Marketing Management, the most widely used marketing textbook in graduate business schools worldwide, now in its 15th edition. Professor Kotler did postdoctoral work in mathematics at Harvard University and in behavioral science at the University of Chicago.

Read an Excerpt

Introduction:Creating High-Performance Capitalism

There are scores of books on capitalism, most of them defending it, several criticizing it, and many just trying to explain it. Why would anyone want to write another book on capitalism? a have five reasons for doing so.

First, I want to understand it myself. My family, friends, and acquaintances around the world live in a market economy run on a system called capitalism. They tell me they want to understand capitalism better.

Second, I believe capitalism is better than any other system. But I also believe that it has fourteen major shortcomings. I wanted to examine these shortcomings and their ramifications.

Third, I want to examine and propose solutions to each of the fourteen shortcomings that would help make capitalism perform better and benefit more people.

Fourth, many readers want a shorter book on capitalism to get their thinking started. Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Belknap Press, 2014), has sold over 200,000 copies, but most book buyers did not read the 500 or so pages beyond the first couple of chapters. In this busy age, we need more concise accounts of social and economic systems that deeply affect our lives. Piketty focused only on income inequality, which is only one of fourteen shortcomings of capitalism that need to be examined.

Fifth, I believe that my background provides an opportunity to develop some special insights into the workings of capitalism. I am a classically trained economist who studied under three great and opposite-thinking Nobel Prize–winning economists, namely, Professor Milton Friedman of the University of Chicago, who represented free market thinking, and Professors Paul Samuelson and Robert Solow of MIT, who represented Keynesian thinking. My goal was to apply macro- and microeconomic theory to understand company decision making aimed at winning market share in highly competitive markets. I feel that economists have neglected the role and power of marketing to shape and influence markets. Marketing is one of the bedrock concepts in a capitalist society. As a behaviorally oriented market economist, I focus my attention on the functioning of the five major players in a market economy: business enterprises, nonprofit organizations, financiers, households, and government. Capitalism, management, and marketing must be joined into a comprehensive framework to understand marketplace developments and impacts. I hope this book achieves that goal.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Creating High-Performance Capitalism 1

Chapter 1: The Persistence of Poverty 17

Chapter 2: Income Inequality on the Rise 29

Chapter 3: Workers under Siege 63

Chapter 4: Job Creation in the Face of Growing Automation 79

Chapter 5: Companies not Covering Their “Social Costs” 95

Chapter 6: Environment Exploitation 105

Chapter 7: Business Cycles and Economic Instability 115

Chapter 8: The Dangers of Narrow Self-Interest 135

Chapter 9: The Debt Burden and Financial Regulation 147

Chapter 10: How Politics Subverts Economics 167

Chapter 11: Capitalism’s Short-Term Orientation 181

Chapter 12: Questionable Marketing Outputs 189

Chapter 13: Setting the Right GDP Growth Rate 199

Chapter 14: Creating Happiness as Well as Goods 211

Epilogue 225

Notes 227


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Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
JimGaddis More than 1 year ago
I hesitate to review this book because the author believes that federal taxes actually provide revenue that the federal government uses to fund its spending. While taxes may be useful for leveling out income inequalities, he consistantly refers to taxes as federal income rather than as the drain in the money supply as they really are. That conventional view of taxes taints my trust in the rest if the book, even though I think he makes excellent and clearly explained points.
Regis_Schilken More than 1 year ago
Unlike our founding fathers whose ideals for our nation’s growth were through democratic principles, hard work, decency and fairness in business and the marketplace, today’s foundering fathers led Americans, particularly the poor and middle class, over an indecent financial brink.  According to Confronting Capitalism, lenders encouraged individuals to borrow outrageous sums to build mansion-like homes, or to start new businesses on unsound practices, knowing full well that in all probability, they would default. And they did!, The bubble burst. A domino effect of the Great Recession (2008-2011) rippled across America and other countries where capitalism, in one form or another, undergirded economic policies.  Out of the ruins, more than ever, people needed employment. Author Philip Kotler in Confronting Capitalism explains how failed businesses yanked uncountable numbers off job payrolls. Seemingly, the great divide between the “haves” and “have-nots” increased exponentially: the rich grew even wealthier, the middle class slipped backward and the poor grew destitute. At the same time, computers and automation sucked up many hands-on jobs. Desperate unhappy jobless people cried out for new leadership—America had lost its soul. To make matters worse, as individuals and entire nations were attempting to avoid bankruptcy, scientists were loudly exposing the blatant, maybe even irreversible, harm done to the environment by exploitation of natural resources and uncontrolled damage to its protective ozone layer. The “good life” had quickly morphed into the “grim life.” In Confronting Capitalism, Author Philip Kotler not only lists fourteen serious faults of capitalism but he also discusses down to earth solutions so that ALL might pursue happiness through financial well-being. For sure, good leaders were needed to return decency to the world. The Obama administration took a huge step in this direction by preventing the collapse of the American economy (150); almost alone, he confronted naysayers by bailing out General Motors, Fannie and Freddie Mac, and AIG. In one of Kotler’s solutions, Confronting Capitalism proposes several plans for insuring that workers earn a basic income (72) or a minimum wage sufficient to live on. He suggests that rather than pay for food stamps, unemployment benefits and welfare services, the government could publicly finance jobs: to repair the nation’s infrastructure, to take care of a thinning but aging population, to work on projects to repair a fracturing environment, to teach out-of-workers skills to refit them for higher level jobs.  He proposes that workers take part in running the companies that employ them. He suggests influencing them to purchase stock and/or shares in that company. He goes so far as suggesting that the government provide every citizen with a minimum income to make sure that no person would go hungry. With a guaranteed income, persons would be free to shop around for a job they liked—better still, they would be free to start their own enterprise. Confronting Capitalism is an excellent book because it sends this very clear message to workers, bankers, industrialists, CEOs, politicians and presidents. IF America is to reclaim its former global glory, leaders must infuse heart into the capitalism begun by our founding fathers. It is not sufficient for a CEO to snatch the highest salary or for a business to boast the largest profit, unless they have used bona fide initiatives to reach this plateau pulling its workers with them. Kotler feels that all is not hopeless but change is, indeed, needed but difficult. Once aware of what can be done, his book will make each reader aware of how s/he can do their part to put heart back into the American dream.
PaulHosse1 More than 1 year ago
Our economy is failing. We have gone from a society based on manufacturing, production, and technology to one dependent on maintaining consumer consumption and growing consumer debt. Where banks and a select few are designated "to big to fail" while ordinary taxpayers can barely pay their bills, amid declining real wages and smal business struggle to keep their doors open.  Meanwhile, the US Government continues to follow wrongheaded economic policies which benefits the top one percent. This recent aberration known as "Corporate Capitalism" has lead to a near collapse of our economy, the "Great Recession", increased poverty, wittle new job growth, and a decline of the middle class and the "American Dream". The one question on everyone's mind is "what can we do?" Dr. Philip Kotler has accurately described in everyday language what went wrong and what can do as nation and a local economy about it. "Confronting Capitalism" is just the book to provide a clear explaination of our economic strenghts and weaknesses, and how to get America back on track. This book is for anyone interested in a common sense approach to understanding and correcting our economic malaise and what we can do to return America to its preeminence...while there's still time.