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21st Century Capitalism Hardcover – Sep 1993


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"HISTORY TEACHES NOTHING, but only punishes for not learning its lessons." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Capitalism's gigantic challenges 7 May 2004
By Luc REYNAERT - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Robert Heilbroner is a brilliant teacher. With clear and concise explanations he reveals the essential characteristics of our capitalist society as well as its historical background.
Capitalism is based on eternal exchange (money for commodities for money ...) and change (products, means of production, jobs ...).
It engenders also multiple conflicts. In our world there is global economic integration but political compartmentalization (individual states). It enhances the cleft between the haves and the have-nots and it produces externalities like pollution (global warming).
Although this book contains some controversial points (exaggerated alienation suffering by workers, projection of a world wide centrally planned economy), I agree with its conclusion that capitalism will survive the 21st century. It has found a new fertile elan in new formidable markets like China and India.
Robert Heilbroner states that capitalism can only survive in a democracy, but that could be fatally contradicted by the Chinese experiment.
Surely, world capitalism will undergo drastic changes, being confronted with such crucial problems as global warming, delocalization of work forces, the redefinition of the role of the national public sector or the power of international organizations.
It will also provoke radical changes in world power. The new winner will most probably be China, because India has to resolve the Hindu/Muslim controversy and the 'classes' hurdle.
This small book is a must read for all those interested in the future of our world.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
As an Introduction to the Economic Future, It's Just the Thing 30 April 2006
By David Weinstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
People who want to improve the world soon doubt the usefulness of the newspaper. For depth and quieter contemplation they turn to thin, portable volumes that superficially make contact with all facets of a social sciences discipline. Heilbroner's 21st Century Capitalism is just the thing. It names the major economists of capitalism and describes the last 150 years of the trajectory in economics. It is true that the narrative is cast in a certain gloom. The work of an economist is a doctor's work, not an inventor's. He does not announce with fanfare new dawns, that is not the economist's calling. Trudging through the evidence, the economist diagnoses the ailments and prescribes the remedies. Heilbroner's prognosis for capitalism is burdened with the same pessimisms all of the great economists carried. After tribalism, after feudalism, this bipartite system (part market, part government) offers: to numb the minds of the manufacturing plant worker, to create inexorable conflict between wage earners and the wage skimming entrepreneur, and to produce cultural deterioration in the hands of the newly arisen bourgeosie. This story drives us to nostalgia, so we look back on Heilbroner's time itself. The 1980s and the post-Persian Gulf War era seemed to presage reduced productivity and slow growth. It didn't happen, but the long-term trajectory Heilbroner observed remains the underlying condition, for capitalism and for triumphalist American capitalism in particular. The reader should not read this book looking for predictions, a search to which the futurist title can lead. None of the major events of 1973-1993 had been predicted, as Heilbroner says, so he plays it conservatively, pointing out the probable parameters of the future and the conditions in which certain developments may occur. Read him for the language and for the depth and even the feeling to his authoritative contemplation.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
About the Real Long Run 21 Jun 2001
By C. Metcalf - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a book that reiterates a lot of the work in "The Decline of the Business Civilization" also by Heilbroner but in the 1970's. The purpose of the book is not to give anything in the way of short run economic prediction (like upswings in the stock market) but instead to attempt to step out of the capitalist mindset for a minute to explore what it means to be in a capitalist society. This includes the costs and the benefits. The purpose is to try to determine what possibilities exist for economic systems in the future by understanding what forces will shape them. This analysis includes discussion of economic and political forces, the tension between the two, and yes of course Marx.
Not his best work 15 Aug 2010
By Robert Kirk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read several of Robert Heilbroner's books and this one left me a bit disappointed. What I have appreciated in his other books is the way he gets to the point quickly, clearly and logically. This book is quick(short) but I left the book with the impression that it was just thrown together with the point of saying.. Capitalism is messy, it could survive (but not very long) and the greatest minds in economics think it's not going to survive. Well, that summed it.
clear and accessible 3 May 2014
By Maureen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I read this book a few years after it was first published and have recommended it to many who want to understand the development of oligarchy in our country. Picketty's new book Capital in the 21st century that everyone is raving about seems to be a statistical analysis of similar ideas.
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