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Turbo-Capitalism: Winners and Losers in the Global Economy Paperback – February 16, 2000
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A new kind of capitalism is raging around the globe--and its economic and social consequences could be crippling. In Turbo-Capitalism, Edward Luttwak, a noted international strategist and consultant, warns that the free market has gone amok. He predicts possible massive increases in poverty, crime, and unemployment, especially in the Third World, which lacks the political and legal systems of the U.S. Unlike the benign, carefully controlled capitalism that ruled from the 1940s to the 1980s, this new whirlwind capitalism will eventually create tremendous social upheaval. "Allowing turbo-capitalism to have its way, as in the United States and the United Kingdom, results in widening income differentials in exchange for not-so-rapid growth," writes Luttwak, who provides plenty of statistics to support his argument. Luttwak acknowledges that economic progress could be crippled if the world returns to the old model of government regulation, and this he calls the "great dilemma," with no easy answers.
While Luttwak's interest is more global, he offers some domestic examples to illustrate the effects of capitalism unleashed. He points to Boeing, which suffered from massive layoffs in the 1990s, even as aircraft orders soared. And he ridicules the notion that high-tech will come to the rescue with thousands of new jobs for downsized blue-collar and white-collar workers, calling these hopes "The Microsoft Mirage." A sweeping, sometimes densely written treatise, Turbo-Capitalism raises important questions for policymakers and business leaders. --Dan Ring --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Since the administrations of Reagan and Thatcher, the virtues of deregulation and privatization have become accepted wisdom in the U.S. and the U.K. Luttwak, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and the author of The Endangered American Dream, has dubbed this free market, with its accelerated rate of structural change, "turbo-capitalism." Although he shares the general opinion that deregulation, privatization and globalization have reinvigorated sleepy economies, he writes that within the shiny apple of prosperity achieved in the U.S. and Britain lurks a worm in the form of reduced real wages, greater income inequality and increased alienation among those excluded from the benefits of growth. Luttwak argues that, in the U.S., such negative consequences are balanced by a vigorous legal system and Calvinist values. He is not as sanguine about the prospects for countries where turbo-capitalism is unchecked by such legal and cultural balances. Seeing unemployment as the global problem of our time and realizing that turbo-capitalism is more likely to aggravate than alleviate it, Luttwak singles out Japan as exemplary for its full employment policy, which endorses the position that the economy exists to serve society, not the other way around. Clearly relishing his Cassandra-like role, Luttwak outlines worst-case scenarios: conservative European monetary policy (with the euro) inhibits employment opportunities; geo-economic conflicts erupt with the spread of globalization. Even if his darkest forebodings never materialize, Luttwak puts readers on notice that, at the very least, speed bumps lie along the road ahead.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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whom I disagree more than Noam Chomsky, but he did have one great observation on the contemporary situation: "Free markets are for the poor; government subsidies are for the rich". Personally I think government subsidies should be used when it in the rational interest of the society --out of society's own self-interest, not because we can't imagine a world without this or that industry. Businesses need to lose their sacredness, and we need to put that sacredness into our culture. Such a preface as I've made is even unworthy of this great book. Luttwak is the only thinker that I've read whom sums up our contemporary situation with unswerving honesty. He shows this especially by mentioning what few do, how our contemporary situation has skewed social relationships. I think that the level-headed view, which he represents, sees these changes as a result of vast worldwide changes which are hard to do anything about, but also indeed as the result of things we could have done something about. Knowing the difference would take some care. But let me humbly submit that only within the parameters of a specific culture can you make such fine distinctions. Precisely because values, pace Evangelical thinkers, are not just inculcated by a culture or religion, values are what you've got when you've done the business of life. And only a strong culture allows you to do good business both personal and professional. The puerile idea that everything rides basically on what we inculcate into the young goes against what every kid knows. Every kid knows quite well where
he fits or doesn't fit. Only a strong broad culture can create the breadth so that the maximum amount of people fit somewhere. The infantalizing vision of Evangelicals has helped create the nursery school vacuum we live in now. And in this world where even adults are trying not to be simply misjudged, is it surprising that some men will feel the only way to prove their manhood is by starting wars? Not getting into fights is the sign
of true military vigor: great soldiers historically only fight when necessary and then they fight with everything they've got. The half-hearted fight, imposed by weak civilian leaders, is what you get in a vacuum. Because we no longer know what we're fighting for. A culture gives a space and horizon to see the goals. Right now we have no goals as a culture. People who need no help get the help, and those who truly need it don't. We have our first and last priorities inverted. We truly don't know what to put first. Culture is not just something that you make a priority. Culture is what allows you to have priorities in the first place.
Luttwak also looks at how certain market inefficiencies, like having too many employees, family businesses and fewer working hours actually helped make the 'capitalist' system more sustainable for the vast majority - or for what used to be the middle class until a decade ago. Turbo capitalism has accelerated and accentuated class divides, reducing the influence and size of the middle class. There are some cultural anecdotes involving work hours and differences in public morality between the United States and Europe mentioned here and there and they add an amusing effect. i found little to object in what he noted, as he remained fair and relevant. Overall this is an excellent book, which provides a great deal of insight into an the socio-economic processes that affecting the modern society.
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It seems to me a book should have a point of view. This book has none.Read more