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Capitalism at Work: Business, Government and Energy (Political Capitalism) Hardcover – October 30, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Political Capitalism (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 500 pages
  • Publisher: M & M Scrivener Press; 1st edition (October 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976404176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976404170
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Businesses succeed by creating real, long-term value for their owners, customers, and society. On the other hand, as Capitalism at Work shows, companies that resort to political profiteering and public grandstanding can fail spectacularly. Bradley's defense of economic freedom provides new insight for business ethics, business best practices, and public policy. --Charles Koch, Chairman of Koch Industries<br /><br />Fascinating, comprehensive ... far surpassing my own history of political capitalism done in the 1960s. --Gabriel Kolko, historian and author<br /><br />Fascinating, comprehensive ... far surpassing my own history of political capitalism done in the 1960s. --Gabriel Kolko, historian and author

Fascinating, comprehensive ... far surpassing my own history of political capitalism done in the 1960s. --Gabriel Kolko, historian and author

About the Author

ROBERT L. BRADLEY JR., a 16-year Enron employee and Ken Lay confidant, is a noted free-market scholar and public-policy entrepreneur. The founder and chairman of the Institute for Energy Research, Bradley is the author of five books and numerous essays on the history and political economy of energy. He is an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.; a visiting fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs in London; and an honorary senior research fellow at the Center for Energy Economics at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2002, he received the Julian Simon Memorial Award for his work on energy and sustainable development.
Bradley lives in Houston with his wife Nancy and two children.

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Customer Reviews

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His story is very inspiring.
doch888
The author has a deep understanding of economics and avoids the superficial analysis that pervades much of the literature on corporate responsibility.
Thomas H. Mayor
He further claims: "The story of Enron is one of the most important benchmarks in the history of mixed-economy capitalism."
Gregory F. Rehmke

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Beitler on December 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Bradley does a great job explaining that it is not capitalism that is failing, but political capitalism that is destroying American prosperity.

Bradley's first three chapters (Part 1), under the banner of "heroic capitalism," summarize the work of Adam Smith, Samuel Smiles, and Ayn Rand. If you want to understand the historical roots and philosophical foundations for capitalism, these chapters are excellent.

The second part of the book describes how free-market capitalism and entrepreneurial start-ups are being destroyed by business cartels supported by government intervention. Political capitalism is not capitalism at all; political capitalism is simply corrupt business leaders in bed with corrupt government bureaucarts and politicians.

Part three of the book was surprisingly interesting and educational. My background is in banking and CPA/management consulting. I have had little exposure to the energy industry, so I didn't expect these chapters to be interesting. I was wrong. The business-government corruption found in the energy industry (seen through the stories of Samuel Insull and Kenneth Lay) can be found growing in every industry.

Michael A. Beitler, Ph.D.
Host of "Free Markets With Dr. Mike Beitler"
Author of "Rational Individualism" Rational Individualism: A Moral Argument for Limited Government & Capitalism
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth W. Chilton on December 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Capitalism at Work: Business, Government and Energy by Robert L. Bradley Jr, is a timely read for those wishing to gain a better perspective of the type of business/government "cooperation" America is experiencing at the close of 2008. The book's Epilogue with its focus on Enron is most instructive.

As is the case for today's financial market turmoil and the auto industry struggles, the collapse of once-mighty Enron was blamed on unregulated markets and free-market capitalism. But Bradley, an Enron insider -- and Enron critic as an insider -- explains how the company was the antithesis of the type company that leading capitalist philosophers such as Adam Smith espoused. Enron was a "politically dependent" firm, not a truly "free-market" company.

The list of Enron political initiatives to promote a marketing strategy of "sustainable development" includes: 1) support for the Clinton/Gore 1993 proposal for a Btu tax; 2) aggressive investment in solar power in 1994; 3) the purchase of Zond Corporation in 1996 to start the U.S. wind industry; 4) spearheading of the nation's most strict renewable energy mandate in Texas in 1999 and 5) unsuccessful lobbying of the Bush administration to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.

Capitalism at Work also offers a warning to those who anticipate millions of green jobs resulting from the activities of a new energy/environment Czar or reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from a cap and trade system. Enron Energy Services (EES) ostensibly offered energy outsourcing for large commercial and industrial customers through long-term contracts. Bradley says, "EES, in fact, was one of Enron's fraud-rife divisions, with the estimated savings in energy and customer costs consisting mainly of speculation and accounting tricks.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gregory F. Rehmke on December 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rob Bradley Jr.'s Capitalism at Work offers a fascinating combination of business history, economic theory, business ethics, and moral philosophy. Maybe those topics don't sound fascinating, but by weaving his analysis in with American business history, past and present, readers gain insight into how the US economy really works.

Bradley argues that major corporate flameouts, from Samuel Insull at Chicago Edison to Ken Lay at Enron, involved more than just character flaws, incompetence, malfeasance, and arrogance. Each involved a corrupting network to government favors, subsidies, and protective regulations.

Especially today when another cohort of corrupted businesses, from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to the Wall Street firms and big three automakers that have either been taken over, bailed out, or bankrupted, Bradley's episodes from business history help us put today's crises in historical perspective.

Bradley is an expert on the history of regulation in the energy industry, the author of Oil, Gas and Government: The U.S. Experience, and has lectured and written widely on energy economics and politics. He argues that much of the U.S. economic system is better understood as "political capitalism" rather than market capitalism. Government spending and regulation, at both the state and federal level, are such a key part of many industries, that any entrepreneur or firm thriving in these industries gains success as much by political capital and leverage as by physical capital or financial leverage.

Bradley observes that "the scope and scale of Enron's politically dependent profit centers was unprecedented." He further claims: "The story of Enron is one of the most important benchmarks in the history of mixed-economy capitalism.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thomas H. Mayor on December 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Robert Bradley's new book is a much needed, thoughtful, and extremely readable book on business ethics. Every business student should read and study this book in order to obtain a systematic understanding of the ethical role of the businessman in a capitalist society. The author has a deep understanding of economics and avoids the superficial analysis that pervades much of the literature on corporate responsibility. He explains that our economic well being depends on entrepreneurs earning profits by satisfying consumer wants and not by coercing consumers through fraud or through the use of government influence. Perhaps the most important contribution of the book is to demonstrate that simple fraud (which is well understood by the general public) is a vastly smaller public problem than the use of government influence (which is only dimly understood by the general public). Business school professors would be well advised to assign this book in every class dealing with business ethics.
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