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Capitalism 4.0: The Birth of a New Economy in the Aftermath of Crisis Hardcover – June 22, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


Literary Review, July 2010
“Hugely ambitious…. The overall impression is startlingly original. Kaletsky offers a genuinely new take on the credit crunch.”

The Economist, July 8, 2010
“Pedants will find plenty to quibble about in Mr Kaletsky’s analysis of the past, let alone his predictions..  But his book is full of clever insights.  For sheer intellectual chutzpah and creativity, it is well worth reading.”
Financial Times, July 18, 2010
“Provocative…. There are now many – too many – books on the credit crunch. Kaletsky’s considerable achievement is to put these events in a perspective that looks back to history and forward to an extended future, and to do so in a framework which goes far beyond a chronology of events. His book is a major contribution to the debate on the nature of the market economy that needs to follow the practical failures of market fundamentalism.”

About the Author

Anatole Kaletsky is editor-at-large of The Times of London, where he writes a column on politics, economics, and international relations. Kaletsky was a full-time journalist for The Times, Financial Times, and The Economist from 1976 until 1998 when he expanded his activities to include economic forecasting and financial consulting.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1 edition (June 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586488716
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586488710
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,166,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Serge J. Van Steenkiste on July 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anatole Kaletsky's key aim is to demonstrate that modern capitalism does not break, but bend in times of "existential" crises (p. 191). Like democracy, modern capitalism has an inherent institutional and political flexibility at its core (pp. 2; 19-20; 35; 311). This evolutionary ecosystem has reinvented and reinvigorated itself through rare crises for the last 250 years (pp. 3; 26; 36-37).

Modern capitalism has more staying power than its critics on both Left and Right usually want to give it for two key reasons:

1. Capitalism has been able to overcome its own contradictions allowing it to undergo radical change (pp. 2; 5; 21; 34-35; 52-53; 82; 157; 201-208; 246; 269-270);
2. Ambition, initiative, individualism, and competitive spirit are embedded in human DNA (pp. 1-2; 20; 22; 25; 41).

Kaletsky reminds his audience that the critical distinction between crises in capitalism and crises of capitalism is often overlooked. Crises in capitalism represent what Joseph Schumpeter called the process of creative destruction through which a group of businesses and industries are reorganized through the regular economic cycles of booms and busts (p. 34). In contrast, crises of capitalism have an impact on the broader capitalist system itself, shake economic assumptions and political beliefs, and cause far-reaching changes both within and between states (pp. 37-38).

The necessary metamorphosis of the capitalist system is at its most difficult when it is close to breakdown. The interest groups that have wealth and power under the threatened existing iteration of modern capitalism defend ruthlessly the status quo under the pretext that any attempt to change their cherished system is doomed to failure (pp. 9; 22-24).
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Robert Stryzinski on September 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Capitalism 4.0 offers a useful analysis as far as it goes, but I think it completely misses the structural changes that are likely to come about as a result of accelerating technology and the dramatic impact those changes will have on the nature of capitalism. Like most of the books that deal with the financial crisis, Capitalism 4.0 has entire sections devoted to the impact of financial innovations, but absolutely nothing about the impact of technical advances in the real economy. For example the words "technology" and "automation" do not appear in the index.

Advancing technology and globalization have resulted in stagnant wages for most people in the U.S. for decades, even as housing, healthcare and education costs have been soaring. To a significant extent, the lack of wage-based income growth was probably an important driver of the housing bubble because buying a home represented the only way for average people to get ahead. Economists, including the author of this book, completely miss that connection between the bubble/financial crisis and real-world technological advance. The reality is that many of the problems being suffered by capitalism are due to a glut of labor brought on by automation technology and globalization. That reduces the bargaining power of all workers and drives down wages and consumer purchasing power.

Prior to the current crisis, average people were able to maintain consumption via credit, but those days are over and we now face a potential crisis of diminished consumer demand that could tip us into a deflationary spriral. It's important to realize that technology is continuing to accelerate. The problems that we see already will only get worse in the future.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Definitely one of my top three books of all time. This book is like "World Politics" by Calvocoressi for capitalism.

Bottom-line: let's not overreact on what we perceive as the cause for the 2007-9 crisis and by the way it's not as terrible as we are told. Use the past as a tool to ensure we can correct the mistakes and empower the users of the system to create a prosperous future.

Kaletsky does a fantastic job of taking historical data and comparing it to the '09 crisis to put both into perspective. I also find it particularly interesting that he focuses his analysis on human behavior rather than mathematical models. I am no economist, (M.A in International Relations), but I always found it strange that economics was a mathematically-centric discipline and truly agree with Kaletsky that its this removal from the human factor that caused the crises. Economics and prosperity is driven by human input not probabilities and when Congress gets involved it applies the human factor (blame factor) and the economists do not understand. Both sides were using completely different means to the same end.

He presents that both sides need to work complementarily instead of antagonistically.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By brado on May 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The author does a great job pulling economic perspectives from various views. Although it can be slightly unsettling that the author does not share his personal views, he does however explain what he thinks the only route of progress will be - compromise. We will not have a pure free-market system and we will not have a pure socialistic system.

The phase of capitalism we have entered will continue to better the world and improve living standards, because capitalism is an adaptive system - it will always find a way to work in an inefficient world.
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