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The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism Paperback – 1 Jun 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Clarity Press, Inc. (1 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0986036250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0986036255
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 446,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism is fearless. It transcends Roberts' illustrious career and prior works of intellectual and practical analysis." NOMI PRINS

"In his inimitable way, Roberts describes how the rhetorical patter talk about free-markets is a cover story for the horror of an extractive asset-stripping operation by publicly supported private banks and the governments that they control." MICHAEL HUDSON

"Clearly, this empirically based, theoretically challenging book is one of the most important works of our time." Johannes Maruschzik, Preface to the German Edition

About the Author

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury in the Reagan administration, a member of the US Congressional staff, associate editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He was Business Week's first outside columnist, a position he held for 15 years, and columnist for a decade for Scripps Howard News Service, carried in 300 newspapers. He was also a columnist for the Washington Times and for newspapers in France and Italy and for a magazine in Germany, as well as a contributor to The New York Times and a regular feature in the Los Angeles Times.. He was awarded the US Treasury's Meritorious Service Award as well as the French Legion of Honor by the Mitterrand government. Roberts has held academic appointments in six universities, including Stanford and the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown. He has testified before committees of Congress on 30 occasions. He was educated at Georgia Tech, the University of Virginia, the University of California, Berkeley, and Oxford University where he was a member of Merton College.


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In these hard-hitting comments, Paul Craig Roberts is searching for the truth on the economic, social and political front in his home country, thereby contesting the vision of other economists on such fundamental notions as growth, market capitalism or free trade.

Economics
As the author states, the notion of economic growth should include its ecological and social costs (depletion of natural capital and pollution), which are perhaps larger than the value of production increases.
Market capitalism means profit maximization and globalism, the latter being a shield for the pursuit of absolute advantage, which is the antithesis of free trade.
Markets are not self-regulating. They created ‘too big to fail’ financial institutions, which provoked an implosion of the whole system.

Social issues
A ‘free market’ system is in no way socially efficient: in the latest financial disaster, up to 16 trillion US $ were needed to bail out US and foreign banks (their shareholders), while nothing was done to aid the millions of US families who were foreclosed out of their home.
Profits are not a measure of welfare. To the contrary, they are creating unemployment by joboffshoring and a decline of the living standard of nearly the whole population. The US unemployment rate is actually between one-fifth and one-fourth of the work force, not the officially published rate.

Political and financial issues
The US population lost its representative government and its civil liberties. Its government is only accountable to the mega rich.
The US budget deficit can easily be resolved by ending (illegal) wars, by closing military bases overseas and by cutting the defense budget. But, this means that the US must give up its goal of world hegemony.
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This important book criticising the laissez faire capitalism of the last couple of decades is written by an assistant secretary of the Treasury under President Reagan and is one of the architects of Reaganomics.

I think that's important because its criticism of capitalism is coming from the political right and not from someone with long-standing views.

Another reviewer is correct. There is a long introduction by someone else for the German version served up to us on amazon.co.uk. My advice is to skip it and start with the book written by the author because you won't have any trouble understanding the stories based on America.

The book is a little repetitive and in need of an effective edit anyway but ignoring the introduction will help get to the core of the matter.

What we've seen is the creation of global corporations that are effectively outside the scope of political influence because there is no global government to stand up to them. In fact it's worse than that, these corporations have the means to twist policies in their favour.

Our economic models, taught at universities and practised by central banks and governments, don't properly incorporate the effects of these changes. This leads to a misleading narrative about what is good and bad in the media.

By pursuing strategies to move production and services offshore to low cost countries, these corporations have managed to enhance their profits by dumping enormous costs on society. The USA (and the UK and parts of Europe) has been hollowed out with middle income jobs transferred overseas. Unemployment increases and the traditional economic levers no longer work because the capacity for the jobs no longer exists.
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This a great summary of the current malaise in world economics and an insightful commentary on the base motivations and flawed systemic thinking that governs the current world systems. For those new to the subject and not into conspiracy thinking it will be an "eye opener".

Although a great treatment of the "as is" I feel that the book lacks a little of the depth of comment needed on the change that is required to remedy the current system. In particular whether or not the Fractional Reserve Banking system should now be rethought by evolutionary morphing into a new system based on new principles. Many others have written on this but foundational change needs to be set out by these authors and communicated to the "layman" so that in today's political climate the masses continue to have their say on informed change.
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Paul Craig Roberts is one of the most influential and authoritative analysts and commentators on the ills of so-called 'free market' capitalism and globalisation and the American-led agenda for global economic and military domination.

Unfortunately, there are some problems with this publication. For reasons which are not explained, the book was first published in German in 2012. This "European" edition contained a long Preface by someone called Johannes Maruschzik who appears to be a publisher (it's not made clear). His 'preface' occupies the first quarter of the book. The quality of the writing is not good - and the footnotes appear in the original German!

This is not a good example of e-publishing. The Kindle version seems to have been rushed into print without the kind of care one would expect for a book by an important writer.
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