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The Future of Capitalism

Facing the New Anxieties
Narrated by: Peter Noble
Length: 9 hrs and 26 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Economics
4.5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Summary

From world-renowned economist Paul Collier, a candid diagnosis of the failures of capitalism and a pragmatic and realistic vision for how we can repair it.

Deep new rifts are tearing apart the fabric of the US and other Western societies: thriving cities versus rural counties, the highly skilled elite versus the less educated, wealthy versus developing countries. As these divides deepen, we have lost the sense of ethical obligation to others that was crucial to the rise of post-war social democracy. So far, these rifts have been answered only by the revivalist ideologies of populism and socialism, leading to the seismic upheavals of Trump, Brexit, and the return of the far right in Germany. We have heard many critiques of capitalism, but no one has laid out a realistic way to fix it, until now.

In a passionate and polemical audiobook, celebrated economist Paul Collier outlines brilliantly original and ethical ways of healing these rifts - economic, social, and cultural - with the cool head of pragmatism rather than the fervor of ideological revivalism. He reveals how he has personally lived across these three divides, moving from working-class Sheffield to hypercompetitive Oxford and working between Britain and Africa, and acknowledges some of the failings of his profession.

Drawing on his own solutions as well as ideas from some of the world’s most distinguished social scientists, he shows us how to save capitalism from itself - and free ourselves from the intellectual baggage of the 20th century.

©2018 Paul Collier (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Tom
  • 27-07-19

A Challenging Read, Worth The Effort

Paul Collier attempts to define the "Golden Mean" in Politics and Economics, while writing a prescription for walking us all back from the brink of destructive polarization. Truly a worthwhile and grand goal. In my view, he partially succeeds, but is only likely to reach the people who are already thoughtful and open minded about these sorts of things.

He claims that the goal of the book is not to change politicians minds, but to reach out and change the perspectives of everyday voters. I have a higher than average tolerance for academic lectures and "wonky" dialog and found it tough sledding. Seems likely the average consumer would lose patience before finishing the first chapter.

Paul describes a "well informed electorate" as one of the most important of public goods, and also one that is extremely hard to produce. A primary goal of the book is to help with this particular challenge.

To have a better chance of "reaching the masses" with these concepts, a short form summary with less economic and political jargon, that can be consumed by the average YouTube viewer in about 15 minutes would seem more likely to succeed. John Green, you up for this?

If you are the sort of person who likes thinking about potentially better ways forward, and analysis of "how the heck did we get ourselves into this mess" based on political and economic theory, this book is a must read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • steve
  • 08-03-19

Stream of consciousness

The author is obviously quite knowledgeable and astute. However, his "stream of consciousness" writing style was disorganized and failed to lucidly convey his points, which came across in an oblique way. Moreover, too much time was repeatedly taken with prefatory remarks about what the author intended to present in later chapters.

Finally, at least for my taste, the author's constant use of almost every possible "ism" word throughout the book presents more of a philosophical statement/argument than a concrete, explicit discussion of what is occurring in the world today and possible remedies available.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-10-19

recommended by Bill Gates

I'm glad that I decided to purchase this. I learned about an old economist named Henry George who foresaw the issue of useless landowners who do nothing but collect rent. They don't contribute to the economy and can completely destroy entire states (modern-day California). A few days ago, I saw a job post for an admin position in San Francisco that has a salary of 100k and 0 applicants. That is just one example of why landowners need to have the crap taxed out of them. The more they collect in rent the more they pay. He talks about the importance of national belonging; and calls out identity and victim politics for what it is. Why do we value small classroom sizes? Why do we think that a one-world government of 8 billion people, who speak different languages and have radically different cultures, is a great idea? How come no one in leadership seems to be willing to acknowledge that the age of politics from 1945 to 1970, were filled with responsible leaders? Where are the new responsible leaders?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • E. A Dunn
  • 17-01-19

The Future of National Socialism

Although it was a gift, I was truly interested in this book. As the first chapter points out exhaustively, the author's bona fides are respectable and he does make some excellent points about the challenges many economies face. Unfortunately, every solution offered is, essentially, "the state can fix it, let's just tax this thing". The fact that he thinks silicon valley CEOs are libertarians because "bitcoin" should have been the first clue, really.
Most of the "failings" he attempts to pin on capitalism are really the failings of previous manipulations and perversions of capitalism. He repeatedly accuses property owners (literal landlords who rent property tenants) of being unworthy of their capital gains ("they might as well have been sitting on the beach") while simultaneously suggesting pensioners should benefit from gains in the market while simultaneously being insulated from market risk (while literally sitting on a beach). He seems to have missed that those nigh onto retirement should generally move to less volatile investments well before retirement. Moreover, if the state should get most of the gains from agglomeration (despite not taking the risks or investing in the property improvements)... can't the state just purchase the property and invest in the first place? Of course not, then the state assumes the risk... we wouldn't want that.
The author then wraps all this together with a strong urge towards patriotic nationalism, because economies need ties that bind and the only logical tie left to us is geographic locations (nations)... and then in the same chapter describes how ISIS has been able to build a shared identity for disaffected youth via the internet.
If this setup sounds familiar (mandated socialism led by a nationalistic state), well kudos to you. Of course, it will be different this time, he promises.

21 of 35 people found this review helpful

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  • C. E. Fisher
  • 28-02-19

Stunning and important

A must-read for all who wish to understand how America, Britain and Europe have arrived where we are today economically, socially and politically- abd how to move to a more equal, sopportive and positive state for the future. A must read for anyone in public office or running for public office- especially for President!

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-11-19

a little bit dificult vocabulary

a little bit dificult vocabulary for a book professed to be for the public. too much economics terms for a non english speaker. but fascinating none the less.

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  • Timothy R. Keen
  • 10-11-19

Major disappointment

This book was fraudulent in purporting to talk about capitalism. It was about social problems in Great Britain.

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  • Lex W. Howard
  • 04-11-19

Best Book I've Read/Heard in Years

Constant (good) discomfort from seeing how my own ideology prevented logical and rational thought. 10/10

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  • Suhas
  • 28-08-19

Perfect

This is seriously crystalized, evidence based, and falsifiable knowledge from an economist who's really clued-in to present day world, wants everyone to prosper, with fair policies.

Must read book for every person who makes decisions.

A central theme is "reciprocal obligations" aka Dharma, which also might entice people to read the book. And they must - this will probably be the first book I buy and gift to people. Probably going to buy a few dozen copies and just hand them out.

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  • Nicole Maki
  • 20-02-19

A road map for a revival of the ethical basis of the hard center

This book’s scope is breathtaking. It covers from a detailed history of the last 50-100 years of American politics, to global international relations, to policies for individual families. Paul Collier’s prestige shows as almost every example comes from a close colleague or his own work over the last few decades and this lends additional credibility if you’re already a fan from his other books.

As for the actual contents, I have a hunch (which was explicitly called out by the author in several spots) that the detailed, local policy provisions are wrong or grossly oversimplified. But that’s not the purpose of this 10 hour / 200 page book. It’s purpose is to map out the ethical basis of a new model of critique and then vigorously sanity test the model against as many aspects of policy as possible. As a result of its pragmatic outlook, the author veers between trumpian, socialist, libertarian, and neoliberal critiques in order to form a complete view of the entire problem areas in modern capitalism. Every reader, myself included, will find objectionable and validating ideas and that is one of the great strengths of this book. It offers a new path that is sufficiently general to allow self expression in how it’s applied while still being reducible to detailed policy.

I recommend this in the strongest terms possible to anyone who is looking for a way out of the desperate extremism of modern politics.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful