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A Capitalist Manifesto: Understanding the Market Economy and Defending Liberty Paperback – November 6, 2012

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"The best sign of deep knowledge is simplicity. Gary Wolfram, a master of the discipline of economics, shows that mastery here in explaining the basic truths of the discipline. They rival the law of gravity in their certainty, and they provide a guide as true as the North Star."
--Larry P. Arnn, President of Hillsdale College

“Understanding the one and only economic system that respects individual rights and produces abundance is a critical challenge for our time. The stakes are high. If we teach the truth about capitalism, the rewards will be reckoned in terms of enriched and lengthened lives, reinvigoration of culture, and restoration of liberties. Gary Wolfram has given us a great addition to the literature of freedom and free markets!"
– Lawrence W. Reed, President, Foundation for Economic Education.

"I had thought until recently that the debate between capitalism and socialism was over, with socialism permanently buried. But I learned from the Obama administration that this hopeful vision was erroneous. Given this fragile state, it is valuable to teach our students more about the wonders of capitalism, and this book helps to fulfill that mission in a clear and engaging manner."
--Robert Barro, Stanford University Hoover Institution and National Bureau of Economic Research

"A clear and concise explanation of how markets work. Makes a strong case for why economic liberty is so important for human prosperity."
--Dan Mitchell, Cato Institute

About the Author

Gary Wolfram is the William E. Simon Professor in Economics and Public Policy at Hillsdale College. He is also president of the Hillsdale Policy Group, a consulting firm specializing in taxation and policy analysis.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Dunlap Goddard (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965604039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965604031
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #992,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on December 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
I learned of this book by reading an op-ed piece by the author that appeared in the Dec. 13, 2012, issue of the Detroit News. I thought the author so well explained the workings and advantages of capitalism, that I'm including a few lines from his op-ed piece, and ordering a copy today. (And I may order a few more copies to give to a few friends/relatives who don't "get it.") It looks to be a highly succinct explanation of how capitalism works.

"We take it for granted that we will have cell phones, iPads, cheap groceries, electric power and all the other advantages of a wealthy society as we accept more government intervention in the system that creates this wealth. We don't stop to realize that this government intervention, as Ludwig von Mises pointed out, leads to unintended consequences, which lead to further government intervention, further unintended consequences, until we have drifted inexorably into central planning and a stagnant economy.

In the classic Sherlock Holmes story, "Scandal in Bohemia," Holmes chastises Watson for seeing but not observing. This is the case for many Americans today. This morning 10 million people in Michigan woke up and there was exactly the right amount of Starbucks coffee, exactly the right amount of bagels, and exactly the right amount of toothpaste, yet there was no one in charge. Few of us stop to be amazed at how this comes about."
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A Capitalist Manifesto -Understanding the Market Economy and Defending Liberty by Gary Wolfram

In March, I attended a 2 day seminar put on by Hilldale College. One of the three featured speakers was Gary Wolfram. I was unfamiliar with him before the seminar. He was entertaining, articulate and insightful. Economics has never really been an area of interest for me. But since the quality of our lives are so tied to our livelihood, and since more and more of our economy is controlled by the government, I bought this book.
If you do read this book, be prepared to review some of the basic economic lectures you had in college. Demand, supply and pricing are the stuff of economics. At first, I was a bit bored with the book. But as I continued on, Wolfram began to paint a picture of the economy from an historical perspective. He incorporates writings of many of the economic thinkers and philosophers of the past 300 years.
My comments...
In the simplest terms, as we permit government to control more and more of the economy, we reduce incentive for risk taking and capital formation. Even our basic urges for charity become corrupted in a way that we depend on Big Brother to care for the needs of the less fortunate.
There are large disparities in the free market system. There are always rich and poor. But in even case, the poor in free market systems live at a standard far above the poor in centralized economies. In other words, the most good can be achieved by the most people when there are fewer barriers to upward movement.
Book Summary...
Each chapter is written in a short, concise manner and this book is a breeze to read through. There are many perils in the writing as well.
Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael Warren Jr. on January 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
Professor Wolfram's manifesto clearly and concisely expains the basics of our capitalist system (including the intertwined nature of political freedom and economic freedom) in a thoughtful and engaging manner. If you never took economics, or did and need a good refresher, you would be hard pressed to find a better work.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mary on January 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gary Wolfram does an excellent job explaining economics in a way that almost anyone can understand. The book is an enjoyable and easy read, yet very substantive and thought provoking.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gary Wolfram's latest book, A Capitalist Manifesto, showcases his gift of communicating sound, economic lessons in easy to read prose. In just 121 pages, the author provides a brief history of the roots of capitalism and compares its ability to facilitate advanced material production and, by extension, prosperity for all to that of central planning. Some may be hesitant to read this book, fearing that it will do nothing but push conservatism. This opinion should be rejected, however, as the author describes not politics, but economics and specifically the ability of capitalistic markets to generate the knowledge necessary to help all people live healthier and wealthier.

This book is ideally suited for two audiences. First, for students taking an introductory course in microeconomics or, even better, political economy. The book provides an excellent overview of the basics of market forces, discussing supply and demand (and what shifts these curves) as well as the process by which sellers and buyers interact right at the beginning. It then goes through several engaging illustrations of these lessons to really drive them home in the readers' minds, all without the use of math that may bog down the minds of students. In short, it teaches students how to think and reason like good economists who seek to understand the world around them.

Second, it makes an indispensable tool for teachers of these classes as it provides another example of how to be both educational and entertaining. In effect, the author teaches teachers how to make the dismal science fun.
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