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on 28 May 2001
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.
8 people found this helpful
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on 15 July 2001
I have just finished reading the book, it is well researched and very lucid and she does articulate her arguments very well. The language used is simple enough even for the layman, with plenty of current, global and historical examples to make the reading very interesting and enjoyable.
Overall I have enjoyed the book, but I do agree with some of the other commentators that, what she states and concludes are nothing new. The relationship between business and government have existed for centuries, particularly within the capitalist society. This is something which she fails to point out but where she really lacks is the solution to all these problems. Some of her assertion that we as consumers can use the wallet, or protest, or use pressure groups to account the corporates does have some element of truth but it is clearly inadequate to remedy the scale of the problem. She provides no real alternative to the current scenario which she herself observes.
Yamin Zakaria
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on 13 September 2001
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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on 29 January 2002
For a long time I've felt uncomfortable about the whole process of privatisation of public goods and the idea that the free market was the Holy Grail. I was not, however, able to really put my finger on why I felt uncomfortable. Thoughts like "the economy should serve man, not the other way around" and "the ultimate goal is to lead a life in dignity" often came to mind. But these where pieces of a puzzle I could not solve.
Noreena Hertz could, and did, in this book.
But this book provides more than interesting reading for those doubting the religion-like status of the free market. When reading this book, keep in mind the ideas of Montesquieu about the separation of powers. Does Noreena Hertz not view the free (capitalist) market as another power which should be seperated from and be subordinate to the legislative, executive and judicial powers?
Also compare this book with Fukuyama's "The End of History and the Last Man". Interesting question is if Noreena Hertz is either agreeing or disagreeing with the central thesis of Fukuyama's book.
In short: this book not only is interesting for those interested in current (world-)affairs, but also for those interested in political philosophy.
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on 9 July 2002
Noreena Hertz premise is; with the state now seeking to serve corporations rather than citizens, and an unwillingness to intervene on our behalf, it is now up to consumers to protest in order to maintain their rights. Protesting itself must also take on a new form; no longer just marches and rallys but protesting with our wallets - the only way to influence capitalist institutions.
Well written and full of examples backing up the authors observations Hertz also maintains a positive outlook on the topic while providing a general basis for a workable solution. Another strong point is rather than demonising corporations she is willing to show many areas where they can, and have, infact provided a much better service than the state.
This makes essential reading for the consumer generation who, without an interest or involvement in politics, need to regain their democratic rights outside of the polling booth. Now that corporations are replacing the state, consumer boycots, selective purchasing and global campaigns against unethical practices are replacing voting.
An important read for anyone who's interest has been stirred by globalisation movement and it's opponents.
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on 2 May 2001
A thoroughly engaging and rigorously researched exploration of how capitalism has placed government and the democratic process in hock to global corporations. I'm not by any stretch of the imagination into politics and would never normally contemplate this kind of book, but after a recommendation from a friend, found the Silent Takeover a very absorbing read. Hertz has tackled the real concerns of our time with clarity and precision, leaving you with a solid understanding of the issues and a desire to do something.
9 people found this helpful
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VINE VOICEon 16 October 2003
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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on 28 May 2002
'There shall be greater rejoicing in Heaven at one sinner who repents than at 100 just men.' (or something like that).
Noreena Hertz was in investment banking and worked in Russia during the sudden and dramatic transformation from the command economy to free-market Capitalism. Having been quite senior with her employers, she realised that she didn't like what she saw and started to question the philosophy, ethics and culture behind global capitalism. A slippery slope, for then everything that had been accepted will be questioned.
Hertz questions global capital - and finds it wanting. The book is a warning that powerful corporations are subverting the democratic process, complete with examples of tax dodging, government-buying and financial pressures that appear to be irresistible. it's not doomladen: it's a wake up call to those who have been sleepwalking through 'The End of History', or those who think that liberal economics and free-market capitalism are the solution to the world's problems.
It's written in a very readable style and is less weighed down with facts and statistics than Naomi Klein's 'No Logo'. It has the enthusiasm of the convert and is none the worse for that - but it suffers from having no index. It works well read in tandem with Klein's book but one hopes that the next effort from one who is clearly very bright and has a gift for communication will be more meaty.
8 people found this helpful
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on 23 January 2002
Noreena Hertz impresses as a thinker who has studied the problem of Globalisation.A thoroughly researched topic,ruthlessly drawn conclusions from facts,sincere and simple narrative style and above all an ardent championing of a very important cause-in fact a life and death issue- for Humanity make this an invaluable work.
5 people found this helpful
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on 16 November 2001
An excellent book, well researched and extremely easy to read, Noreena Hertz provides a superb account of how major corporations are slowly eroding the power of democratically elected governments. She explains how institutions such as the WTO and large, rich corporations are turning Nation states into mere puppets.
A superb read that illustrates and explains the inequalities in todays world together with reasons why voting is seen less important than protests.
9 people found this helpful
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