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The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties Hardcover – December 4, 2018
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“An engaging and well-reasoned argument….There is nothing socialist about Collier’s critique or his prescriptions — like Adam Smith, the oft-misunderstood father of modern economics, he’s about restoring a moral sensibility to a market system that is falling short of its potential.” -- Washington Post
“These times are in desperate need of Paul Collier’s insights. The Future of Capitalism restores common sense to our views of morality, as it also describes their critical role in what makes families, organizations, and nations work. It is the most revolutionary work of social science since Keynes. Let’s hope it will also be the most influential.” -- George Akerlof
“Collier mounts a compelling and often scathingly witty last-ditch defense, seeking not to combine the “best ideas” of Left and Right, but to fix the damage they’ve done. His brand of pragmatism, or “the hard center,” involves redistribution to the losers across three great divides — urban vs. provincial; educated vs. not; globally rich vs. poor — while preserving capitalism and national boundaries.” -- Vulture’s “Best New Books of December”
“An ambitious attempt to restate the aims of capitalism and social democracy.” -- Bloomberg News
“National loyalty, far from being inimical to a more just and decent world in which all, including the world’s poorest, can flourish, is seen by Collier as a firmer foundation for global cooperation than abstract cosmopolitanism, which all too often serves as a mask for unenlightened self-interest. How does Collier intend to repair the bonds of affection in the rich democracies? The Future of Capitalism is rife with inventive proposals….his ‘hard centrism’ has much to offer.” -- New York Times Book Review
“Responding to recent electorate revolts in developed countries against paternalistic democratic policies, Collier explores the reasons for these events and suggests pragmatic remedies employing education, taxation, social services, and political reform. Collier’s wide-ranging work presents challenging concepts from a British viewpoint, providing a meaningful perspective that will reward thoughtful readers. A noteworthy addition to works such as Douglas McWilliams’s The Inequality Paradox and Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” -- Library Journal
"In this bold work of intellectual trespass, Paul Collier, a distinguished economist, ventures onto the terrain of ethics to explain what's gone wrong with capitalism and how to fix it. To heal the divide between metropolitan elites and the left-behind, he argues, we need to rediscover an ethic of belonging, patriotism, and reciprocity." -- Michael J. Sandel, author of What Money Can't Buy and Justice
From the Back Cover
From world-renowned economist Paul Collier, a candid diagnosis of the many failures of the greatest economic system in history, and a pragmatic and realistic vision for how we can repair it
Western society, once thriving, is being torn apart by deep new rifts in its social and economic fabric. It’s now populous cities versus rural counties; the highly skilled elite versus the less educated; wealthy versus developing countries. As these breaks have deepened, we’ve lost the sense of obligation to others so crucial to the rise of postwar social democracy in the first place.
These divisions are currently being addressed solely by revivalist ideologies and populist megafigures — we’re in the age of Brexit, President Donald Trump, and the return of the far right in Germany. And unless we do something now, the gap between the promises of prosperity for all that capitalism once offered and the crisis of contempt we find ourselves in will only grow wider, faster.
The Future of Capitalism is a passionate and polemical treatise that presents brilliantly original solutions for healing this economic, social, and cultural discord, with the cool head of pragmatism and policy rather than the fervor of rhetoric. Paul Collier’s workable solution is in the center: we have no time for moral or intellectual superiority on either side of the political spectrum, he argues, and no shiny new economic theory is going to save us this time.
Drawing on the wisdom of some of the world’s most distinguished social scientists, Collier charts an agenda of empowerment to show us how to save capitalism from itself — eschewing the ideological baggage of the twentieth century and instead crafting practical policy grounded in communitarian ethics to address the rapid rise in inequality that will either end us or propel us into an entirely new economic age.
- Publisher : Harper; 1st Edition (December 4, 2018)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062748653
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062748652
- Item Weight : 15.7 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.89 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #204,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Instead of trying to argue about whether Collier’s effort is successful, something impossible to achieve in a brief review, I would rather summarize Collier’s major ideas. In this way the prospective reader can judge for himself/herself whether the book’s project is something they would entertain reading.
Collier’s primary diagnosis of the ills confronting capitalism is that it relies on an oversimplified understanding of the individual. Based on the ideas of Bentham and Mill, economists have tended to view human beings as simply making rational decisions to maximize utility. By doing so, they’ve left out key dimensions of human psychology, primarily the need for social esteem or respect. Because of this highly individualistic philosophy Western societies have lost the social cohesion that marked the period from 1945-1970.
Added to this is an increasingly simplified notion of the firm. Based on the ideas of Milton Friedman, the firm is supposed to solely maximize profits. Any responsibilities outside of this to its employees/consumers is ignored.
In keeping with these two fallacious notions, conservatives have increasingly viewed their task as simply removing government from the market. Liberals have tended to see themselves as an enlightened elite who must steer the economy to monetarily compensate those whom the market hasn’t sufficiently rewarded.
In place of this Collier calls for social maternalism. A state which, eschewing ideology, makes pragmatic policy choices to build a true national community and makes certain that all citizens have the possibility for a life resulting in social respect.
Collier’s analysis is, of course, much more detailed and his pragmatic policy recommendations are manifold. But I hope I’ve given the prospective reader an idea of how ambitious this book is and whether the type of ideas conveyed would be of interest.
Personally, for what it’s worth, I found myself agreeing with Collier’s depiction of the current socio-economic climate but doubtful as to whether his policy prescriptions would be enough to provide a remedy. But I still gave the book five stars because, to my knowledge, there are few academics willing to write for a non-technical audience a book with ambitions such as these.
Relatively easy to read, with clear prose and ample examples to drive the narrative, I hope the book is given the serious consideration it deserves. In short, for those who worry about the future of capitalist societies a must read.
Top reviews from other countries
The book is spread too thin and thereby loses any depth. Most of the subjects of the book are discussed better and in more detail in other books but a more focused book on the divide between the metropolis and broken cities could have been quite interesting (although the author seems somewhat biased in his allegiance to the broken cities).