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Friday, March 29, 2013

Can we save capitalism from itself?

Thoughts from reading
The Trouble With Markets: Saving Capitalism from Itself, Second Edition
by  Roger Bootle

This book has three sections and the Economist author goes on to say how we have ended up here in the first three chapters.  

Section 1: The great implosion:
The 1930s had seen the Great Depression and the 1970s the Great Inflation. The 1990s had seen the Great Moderation. This was the Great Implosion.
The next 4 chapters he deals with the trouble with the markets.

Section 2: The trouble with the Markets
As Robert Heilbroner put it: “The profit motive, we are constantly being told, is as old as man himself. But it is not. The profit motive as we know it is only as old as modern man.”
OK, The next section of three chapters

Section 3: From implosion to Recovery
Keynes was right in three major respects:

  • Economic activity is permeated by fundamental uncertainty.
  • As a result, many of the major factors that affect the economy are psychological and depend critically on the state of confidence, which is not readily analyzable or predictable.
  • Consequently, the modern economy is inherently unstable and fragile
Conclusion starts with this quote -
All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
--Leo Tolstoy, 1873

Overall this book is a good read, but I am still unsure of one thing:
So, Is it really possible to save capitalism from itself?
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