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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much of the same, but still interesting
While this is very similar in theme to No Logo, One Market Under God et al, it is still a well-written critique, readable and a good introduction to the themes involved.
Moreover, it is actually relatively balanced, presenting as it does the counter-arguments to the main theme. This makes it more of an argument than a polemic, which is refreshing.
Published on 2 Aug. 2001 by archon

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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars All hype, no substance
Hertz's book, like Hertz herself, is a real disappointment. A former banker and arch-Thatcherite who spent her formative years forcing gangster capitalism onto the unwary Russians she should, one would have thought, have been able to bring some intellectual rigour to the debate. Not a hope. Hertz's book is little more than a rehash of truisms about 'globalisation', based...
Published on 11 July 2003 by Mike Bullock


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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars All hype, no substance, 11 July 2003
By 
Mike Bullock (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy (Paperback)
Hertz's book, like Hertz herself, is a real disappointment. A former banker and arch-Thatcherite who spent her formative years forcing gangster capitalism onto the unwary Russians she should, one would have thought, have been able to bring some intellectual rigour to the debate. Not a hope. Hertz's book is little more than a rehash of truisms about 'globalisation', based on research already done by other people and organisations less effective at hyping themselves in the media. There is no original journalism in here; I know because I have read many other books on this subject. Politically i would place myself, with caveats, in the 'anti-globalisation' camp that Hertz claims to be speaking for, and I've read all this stuff many times before, done much better by others. To add to this sloppiness, not only are Hertz's arguments trite and her 'research' unoriginal but she misunderstands or simply ignores most of the growing global movement of people who are supposedly on her 'side.' The best she can do is to interview someone dressed as a fairy in Genoa, and embellish the interview with the usual tabloidese about 'wacky' protesters, whose politics she never condescends to take seriously. This book should be a devastating and sharp indictment of global capitalism by a former insider. Instead it's a shallow, second-hand and second-rate cash-in by a blatant bandwagon jumper. If you want a book that actually does what Hertz claims to have done, try instead David Korten's 'When Corporations Rule The World', John Gray's 'False Dawn' or anything by Susan George. But give Noreena's hype-machine a wide berth.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much of the same, but still interesting, 2 Aug. 2001
While this is very similar in theme to No Logo, One Market Under God et al, it is still a well-written critique, readable and a good introduction to the themes involved.
Moreover, it is actually relatively balanced, presenting as it does the counter-arguments to the main theme. This makes it more of an argument than a polemic, which is refreshing.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellently written from a British perspective, 13 Sept. 2001
By A Customer
I read a good deal of No Logo before becoming fed up with what I read to be a polemic... I didn't like the book, because Klein states her opinions as facts, and gives little evidence to back up much of what she says.
However, I paricularly liked The Silent Takeover because she prsents an ibjective argument with plenty of evidence. It is up-to-date, including events which couldn't have happened more than a short while before publication. It is not wholly negative and biased against big business, as No Logo seems to be, and gives a number of reasons why business is good.
She examines why business, in many cases, seems to be better than government - it's more flexible, less beaurocratic, and able to quickly adjust to consumer demands if it wants.
In examining the role of the WTO and World Bank, she points out the good and bad of each.
A strong book, well-argued and definitely one to replace No Logo on your coffee table... stand out from the crowd!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique take on how big business is hijacking your vote!, 25 April 2001
By A Customer
I must strongly disagree with the first review of this book.
In her book, Ms Hertz has fashioned a fiery indictment of business, government and the business of goverment in the 21st Century. She has done so with wit, showmanship and - most importantly - without losing her audience.
Agreeably, her end point is a radical one. But it is not so much a conclusion as a starting point for action and discussion. For the corporate control of the way in which we live is an issue which is growing, not shrinking.
The reviewer writes that "The only real way to effect change is through the law and the reaffirmation by governments and the courts of their authority".
Had he read the book more closely, the reviewer would realise that this view is shared by Ms Hertz. What she suggests, however, is that there is an alternative.
What's more, that the pharmaceutical companies backed down in South Africa is an endorsement of her arguments. It was brought to light through the inability of South Africans to buy generic AIDS medicine. This was an economic battle. And it was won not through legislation, but through people power.
THE SILENT TAKEOVER is a superb book. I was left contemplating the erosion of democracy at the most personal level i.e. how it affects me. And I was shocked.
As for a publicity campaign, it is just that: publicity, not hype. If Ms Hertz is sold as glamorous or as a "pop" economist, then all the better. Hers is not a message for the dusty bookshelves of academia.
It is for us, here and now.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent portrayal of how voters feel - apathetic?, 28 May 2001
By A Customer
The WTO debacle at Seattle, corruptible Helmut Kohl, no discernible policy choice between the UK Labour and the Conservatives, Senate changes in the US based on no mandate (one man changes his mind) and the longest period of widespread peace in Europe and North America - Politics, like baseball, is fast becoming a minority sport.
Given the irrelevance of who may or may not have won the US presidential election last year combined with the very recent US senate changes, Hertz's provides a book that isn't just political rhetoric. Instead we have a discussion of the corporate-government-people relationships that, regardless of whether they may or may not have taken place, have changed how people feel. We can all dispute the facts and the version of events put forward by Hertz in the book, but how do people feel? Yes, this book touches a raw global nerve. We can not shy away from the very real perception that politicians are impotent in the face of corporate globalisation.
The book makes some astute observations of the roles of the WTO and UN at the global level, asking whether they really serve us? or we them? in terms of accountability and conflict of interests. How does one balance the "blind trust fund" concept of public ownership, in order to remain impartial, with the desire for transparency and accountability, in order to ensure voters feel enfranchised?
This book will not appeal to those who champion either extreme of free market or public ownership models, instead it will have popular appeal to those who (a) have never experienced the need to fight for basic suffrage (b) increasingly see politics as a complete waste of time. Why do we bother? This is not a high minded book, it is a worthy attempt at trying to engage the "real voters" in a debate about what is important and where the power lies. Do you really vote?
If you didn't vote in your last election, you should buy this book.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Silent Takeover, 23 Mar. 2003
This review is from: The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy (Paperback)
In this accessible book Noreena Hertz draws a frightening picture of our contemporary world, where corporations acquire more and more power over ordinary citizens and national governments and eventually replace democracy and take over the planet. Underlining her argument with numerous examples, facts and figures she argues that democratically elected governments seek to create an environment that suits businesses rather than their voters.
Hertz, however, admits to be neither strictly anti-capitalist nor anti-business. She is one of the 'critical globalisationists', like Hirst and Thompson, but nevertheless, makes it clear that she believes that not everyone benefits from globalisation. Passionately, she defends people, democracy and justice without glorifying governments or states, which in her view have 'a clear role to play in society' (p.13) but fail to live up to it in practice.
Although Hertz writes about the international economy and the changes that happened during the past three decades in this field, the book is by no means tedious. This is thanks to the many examples she uses but without over using statistics and figures. Hertz tells her story with a very personal touch and mixes her experiences with those of real life people, whom she undoubtedly admires. There is Granny D, a 91-year-old American grandmother who walked thousands of miles across America to deliver her speeches against corrupt politicians. Or on the other side of the Atlantic, she finds Oskar Lafontaine, the former German Finance Minister, who said on the day of his resignation 'the heart is not traded on the stock market yet.'
Hertz does not limit her examination of 'the silent takeover' to America but looks more closely at Europe, than does for example Naomi Klein in No Logo. Here she discovers that almost the same things happen, only perhaps on a smaller scale. For example she describes how corporations buy influence and action by donating large amounts of money to party election campaigns. And how, in fact, politicians spend more time and effort on raising funds for their campaigns than on finding solutions for social problems.
She argues, that this is then the reason for low turnouts on election days. People have lost their trust in politicians, as they seem to be unable to solve the problems most eminent to the average citizen. Hertz sees this as an indicator for the beginning of the death of democracy and the triumph of corporations.
Her views that in the contemporary world, the consumer has more power to change things than the voter has are certainly disputable. However, she has a point when she highlights that through boycott campaigns the consumer can sometimes actively change the way corporations conduct business but the voter can only chose between increasingly homogenous politicians with the same inability to solve problems seen as most urgent by the people: health, education and unemployment.
Overall, Hertz writes a consistent book with some excellent parts but does not tell the reader anything fundamentally new.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars detailed case study, simplistic answers, 6 Dec. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy (Paperback)
I was quite impressed with the case studies she made for the book, however the response to dealing with such difficult and taxing issues were somewhat naive and simplistic. The worst suggestion being yet another World organisation to keep check on the other organisations such as the W.T.O.
It was a shame that the most important aspect of the book was sadly lacking. It was released with the usual hype, but I felt cheated after reading it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to an important subject, 16 Oct. 2003
By 
Keith Appleyard "kapple999" (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I liked this book; it was amazingly easy to read, without being trite or condescending. Many of the stories and anecdotes I knew from other readings, but there was new material, and all of it was well done in the telling.
This was not heavy going, nor was it an ill-structured string of disjointed stories.
I recommend it as an excellent introduction to the issues.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Grossly Overated, 27 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy (Paperback)
I was really looking forward to reading this and I understood that it foretold the banking crisis of 2008. But I found that it did nothing of the kind. There is nothing new in this book and most people will be well aware of the main thrust of her ideas. The book's sub title ('Death of Democracy') is melodramatic and no credible evidence is adduced for this assertion. At best this is a history book and there are few lessons for the present day. Grossly over-rated!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It needed to be said like this., 5 Jan. 2002
By A Customer
A well written book that sews together a fair and accurate picture of the state of the world ecomony and the direction in which the major coporations are steering it, and along with it, us. Calm, rational and without the unnecessary and confusing melodrama employed by her peers this book explains or current dangerous predicament. This sytle makes the delivery of the chilling facts even more breathtaking. The coporation's undermining of government power and the exploitation of the developing countries is eloquently and clearly discussed and firmly substantiated.
I cannot recommend highly enough for anyone who is interested in arming themselves with the facts, and is no longer prepared to ignore their humanity and conscience about what we are doing to our modern world. This book may change your opinions quite dramatically, for the better.
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