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Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal Mass Market Paperback – Illustrated, July 15, 1986
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"Dovetail" by Karen McQuestion
From the author of Hello Love comes a spellbinding new novel of enduring love, family secrets, and mysterious death. | Learn more
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 6.7 ounces
- ISBN-10 : 0451147952
- ISBN-13 : 978-0451147950
- Mass Market Paperback : 416 pages
- Dimensions : 4.19 x 0.87 x 6.75 inches
- Publisher : Signet; Illustrated edition (July 15, 1986)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #57,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Somewhere along the line, I began to start questioning my beliefs. I went back to school to earn an MBA and learned more about finance and economics. I hypothesized my own views about all this as though I were a business owner or CEO, facing turbulent market conditions. Then I noticed something. No business owed me a job, no gov't agency owed me survival, no one else owed me anything. In simple terms, my needs place no justifiable moral obligation on anyone else.
Although I was familiar with this book, I felt for a long time that I wasn't ready for it. Should all those liberal beliefs I'd adopted turn out to be wrong? In some ways, no. I was still sure that bigotry and nationalism weren't defensible. In basically every other way, yes. Liberal economic ideas are, once you're honest about policy ideas, fully indefensible.
Conservative or liberal leaning, I definitely recommend one take the ideas advanced in this book seriously. Consider them and be honest with yourself. The most extraordinary idea for me is that the cause of most of the problems of which we lament is the same regulatory power we hope will fix them. After this I'll be studying economic history of this regulatory environment to determine if/how it led to market imbalances and distorted incentives. So long as gov't has legal power over commerce, crony capitalism (NOT REAL CAPITALISM) will never end. Yet I'm curious to see how the regulatory machinery may create more problems than it solves. For now, I'd consider myself tentatively in favor of laissez faire capitalism.
I can also fully recommend the blog talk radio podcast of Dr Yaron Brook. It's a very thought provoking show for those tired of being locked into the outdated liberal-conservative buckets.
Ayn explains the flaws with critiques of capitalism and how they often aren't rational, why the 'capitalism' of today isn't the capitalism she advocates, why aiming to profit by taking advantage of others isn't congruent with capitalism, and why the laissez faire capitalism she *does* advocate is based on goodwill and justice, not deceit and plunder.
As such, she presents capitalism as an economic system almost as an aside: she focuses on it as a moral system, and tells you why it's superior to its predecessors and various alternatives.
While there are a few things out of place, and the overall philosophy isn't perfect, this book presents a powerful case for why laissez faire capitalism should be the bedrock of a peaceful, rational society.
In it she explains quite well the working of everything from Capitalism to every system of Interventionism to Communism.
I was raised to believe that the "middle ground" (Interventionism) was good and moral although (as a French Canadian living in Quebec) I could see how government Health Care was burning through doctors and never made the connection why it was/(still is) getting worse.
This book is like 50 years old and it is still describing very well the working of what I seen as a Canadian inside our system. Like corporate favors that disadvantage the customer (air canada, bell, etc) this book help me notice how everyone of our major political parties are just a representative of pressure groups (out to get advantages at the benefit of everyone else).
A damn good read.
Top reviews from other countries
I found myself enjoying Alan Greenspan's essays more than I thought. He really could be Dr Stadler. How can a proponent of a Gold Standard then become the head of the immoral, Federal Reserve and then inadvertently help cause the 2008 crises, with the help of Bill Clinton. It truly is Atlas Shrugged coming to life. (Check out John Allison lectures on the financial crises on YouTube. His explanation is truly remarkable and brilliantly explained).
Capitalism is truly the only moral political and economic system. I honestly think, if this book was more widely read, it would change the world.
The promotion of Capitalism on moral ideals and practical examples are often contrasted against the purported effects of altruistic/Socialist consequences and actions of a controlling government. Rand introduced the term 'Statist' to describe systems and those who ascribe control and planning as means to achieve their goals, in this context the control is mainly economic. I believe Rand and her associates offer a compelling case against political control of the market by examining the direct and indirect negative effects whilst offering in turn the benefits of a free market. In the true Libertarian inspired tradition of concern for the rights of the individual, the ultimate effects of Statist control are portrayed as devastating to the rights and freedom of the individual.
A number of essays included are by Nathaniel Branden and Alan Greenspan. Greenspan provides the backbone of the book through his analysis of the technicalities of a free market system and how it is superior to those who receive government aid, he also provides a potent portrayal of how a mixed economy can be abused through government bureaucratic controls, e.g lobbyists by those who under a free system would be unable to exploit such structures that government interference creates.
Branden himself covers the practical effects on institutions such as education, however I feel that in his arguments he is a little vague as to the ultimate effect that such measures of reform would have. He also covers the topic of 'Alienation' rebutting the Hegelian/Marxist mystic concept of the term and proposing in favour a case for people as being alienated through the lack of self-esteem and happiness due to lack of rational decision and personal freedom. However I feel this is a point so abstract as to perhaps question the concept of 'Alienation' itself.
The whole book therefore rests on the premise that historically Capitalism in it's semi-enabled forms during the 19th century and early twentieth were not exploitative systems of class struggle or disproportionate wealth but rather a revolutionary system of development for all through the ability of rational individuals.
The only weak points that I feel this book has, at least from the view of an acceptance of a majority of Objectivist premises or arguments is that Rand herself begins to repeat the same points frequently in the later chapters, perhaps however it is a means to show the depth of the issues, however I felt that it did impact negatively on the fluidity of the read itself. And also Branden's vagueness as I already mentioned, I feel let the book down, had he been more concise with his conclusions, I could well have rated this book with five stars.
Overall a good book for someone seeking a defense of Capitalism on practical and philosophical grounds.