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The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy Paperback – 1 Sep 2003

2.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; Reprint edition (Sept. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006055973X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060559731
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,384,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Well written and colorful...Essential reading." -- Sunday Times (London)

"Fast becoming the central text of the antiglobalization movement."--Christian Science Monitor

"[Hertz's] eloquent call to action deserves the attention of every concerned citizen of our troubled world."--Publishers Weekly

"The Silent Takeover raises issues that business and politicans would be unwise to ignore."--Financial Times

"Noreena Hertz is one of the world's leading young thinkers."--Observer

"Well written and colorful...Essential reading."--Sunday Times (London)

The Silent Takeover raises issues that business and politicans would be unwise to ignore. --Financial Times"

Well written and colorful...Essential reading. --Sunday Times (London)"

Noreena Hertz is one of the world s leading young thinkers. --Observer"

Fast becoming the central text of the antiglobalization movement. --Christian Science Monitor"

[Hertz s] eloquent call to action deserves the attention of every concerned citizen of our troubled world. --Publishers Weekly"

Book Description

Noreena Hertz's groundbreaking political book has established itself as an essential socio-economic text as the world faces the challenge of the power of big business. This fascinating insight into the world economy and world politics has made its author a public figure, rarely out of the papers or off the TV, debating with Bill Clinton and Mary Robinson, appearing on Newsnight and Question Time. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: 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.
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Format: Paperback
This book is little more than a cobbling together of anecdotes with no central core of thought. The tone of the commentary is patronising with no real attention paid to the economic or political philosophy of why some aspects of globalisation should be resisted or some might be embraced. Ms Hertz's flip-flop from assisting the kleptocracy who impoverished the citizens of Russia to right-on democrat should be ample warning about the depth of her intellectual commitment -- and it shows in this book. Useful ammunition for dinner-party diatribes maybe but if you want something sensible then spend your money on Stiglitz or John Grey
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Format: 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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Format: Paperback
Noreena Hertz book is now 12 years old but seems more relevant than ever. In it she sets out a world where corporations with an international reach fill a space vacated by governments suffering an identity crisis which leaves them unable or unwilling to decide exactly what their role is in civil society.

This is done using several methods from traditional advertising and political donations to giving equipment to schools and colleges. One particularly insidious way that companies have gone about this is to donate educational aids like televisions, books and computers to schools on the proviso that they are allowed to have their posters placed in the corridors so that they can reach students that way. It is pretty clear that altruism is not necessarily the first thing on their minds (although there are exceptions to this as is pointed out but by and large business trumps charity).

Through the course of the book Noreena Hertz shows us how companies with a global presence bully and manipulate national governments into concession after concession in a race to maximise profits and dividends for the shareholder. The good thing here is that while this is clearly a left-leaning work, Noreena Hertz shies away from the outrage and tub thumping that usually comes with this sort of work, instead choosing to shine a light on the way the world is (or was) in 2001. A good example would be the advent of the Internet allowing mass protest to come of age but at the same time allowing major corporations to get their message and spin to a much larger audience far more quickly than before.
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