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Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It
Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It
by Richard D. Wolff
Edition: Paperback

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sums up the mess pretty well, 12 Feb. 2012
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His analysis of the dire state of global capitalism is concise and well expained in this book. This book comprises of a compilation of essays he has written leading up to and after the bank crash in 2008. The fact that the book is in bitesize well written chunks make it an absorbing read that is easy to digest.

His analysis is highly precient before the meltdown. He is highly scathing of the way neo-liberal economic poloicies are adopted by governments that are in the pockets of the corporate bussinesses. If you are a disciple of Milton Freidman you are not going to like this book- in which case you are probably in denial anyway.

He advocates a new micro-marxism as the answer. I am not so sure about this proposal. However he skillfully exposeas the folly that we have all been fed as science for the last thirty years.

The Welfare State We're In
The Welfare State We're In
by James Bartholomew
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

8 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Half of history- half true, 9 Feb. 2012
Unbelievabaly polemic distortion of history to suit a neo-con/neo-lib ideology. This book blatantly chooses to veer round the absolute facts. Such as the golden years of growth occurred for the three decades Keynesiasn economics following Beveridge's reforms. As the previous reveiwer noted this book was endorsed by Milton Freidman.The current economic climate would suggest that Freidman's credibility is shot. This is most extreme example of flogging a dead horse. In terms of GDP growth decline there was no understanding expressed about the real bogey man- "private debt". The failure of the right wing boiled in wealth theories to recognise that money does not dissapear but merely transits debtors to creditors. In terms of economic understanding this book does not achieve one star.

Yes there are truths within the book. More people are benefit dependent for many of the reason discussed in book. Pity a bit more time wasn't spent on blaming the NHS for sustaining the life of those not rich enought to fund private pensions. Nor identifying that old people are an expensive but necessary burden that will not go away. But worse there seems to be an absolute failure to recognise how the welfare state has really funded the wealth of the rich. Facts like: housing benefits going to landlords not tenneants, low wages creating benefit dependency, and the fact that an economy that invests in finance and ignores manufacturing cannot provide living wages for all.

This book also ignores that council housing has paid for itself in real terms thrice over. Firstly in asset terms. Secondly in rent payments and thirdly in terms of employment. The result being the greatest ever period of national financial success acheived ever. Only the most dissonant and ignorant could believe that a fraction of the 375 billion squanderdd on the dead horse would be better spent on public housing. This does not even consider how these council homes improved the lives of people who had previously existed in Victorian squalor. As one Frederick Engels pointed out the shame that Britain was the most wealthy nation in Europe but its poorest lived some of the most impoverished lives. These were souls that were fit for slaughter om the Somme and other battlefields- and it was this realisation that created Beveridges reforms.

It also presents a very simplstic analysis of the definition of a welfare state. Esping-Anderson did this perfectly in the eightees (Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism). Since then we have seen the decline of collectivism and welfare state within Britain and to a lesser extent other Western nations. Funny thgough that the only growtht that followed seems to be funded by debt?

If Mr Bartholomew were to truly bang the drum for conservative and corporatist policies he might spend little more time scrutinising a political elite that has become subordinate to neo-liberalism.This book is merely a half-baked political rant that digs no deeper that its own ideology. It absolutely failed to recognise the precarious and unstable nature Laizez Faire economics and how it has people more benefit dependent and not less.I have the utmost respect for Tories who know they are Tories. But am mystifierd by those who think don't know Milton Freidmans arse from Harold Macmillans elbow.

The truth is I could only read 3 chapters and skipped throught the rest because I found myself furiously kicking my own shins. The pain of wsting good money on this was excrutiating. I actually only bought it to intelligently critique an opposing political point. But i got confused which political point he was making apart that the bloke out of Shameless is reponsible fro the demise of Western capitalism.

All in all a great read for those who think micro economics are macro economics and enjoy skiing every year.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 28, 2013 7:56 PM GMT

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