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Capitalism at Work: Business, Government and Energy (Political Capitalism) Hardcover – October 30, 2008
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Fascinating, comprehensive ... far surpassing my own history of political capitalism done in the 1960s. --Gabriel Kolko, historian and author
About the Author
Bradley lives in Houston with his wife Nancy and two children.
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more
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Top Customer Reviews
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
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I worked at the company which was later called ENRON CORP before Ken Lay ande before Mr. Bradley. I worked directly with the senior executives and with the directors and many... Read morePublished on December 18, 2011 by Amazon Customer
I read Chris Thomas' book, The Rockefeller Fraud, and realized that any of us, could end up in a situation like his. Read morePublished on November 28, 2011 by doch888
I purchased this book based on Gabriel Kolko's endorsement. I was shocked at the lack of depth and anecdotal homilies e.g., reference to Ayne Rand to back up inane arguments. Read morePublished on June 29, 2009 by J. Gwinn