By John Plender

ISBN-10: 1849549575

ISBN-13: 9781849549578

Capitalism has lifted hundreds of thousands out of poverty. lower than its guiding hand, dwelling criteria during the Western international were reworked. additional afield, the path blazed by way of Japan is being through different rising marketplace nations around the globe, growing prosperity on a panoramic scale.

And but, capitalism is unloved. From its discontents to its outright enemies, voices compete to indicate the failings within the procedure that permit more and more strong elites to snatch an ever higher percentage of our collective wealth.

In this incisive, clear-sighted advisor, award successful monetary instances journalist John Plender explores the paradoxes and pitfalls inherent during this terribly dynamic mechanism – and in our attitudes to it. Taking us on a trip from the Venetian retailers of the Rennaissance to the sparkling temples of trade in 21st-century Canary Wharf through the South Sea Bubble, Dutch tulip mania and manic-depressive playing addicts, Plender exhibits us our monetary construction in the course of the eyes of philosophers, novelists, poets, artists and the divines.

Along the way in which, he delves into the ethics of debt; unearths the reality in regards to the unashamedly materialistic creative giants who pioneered copyrighting; and strains the trail of our instinctive conviction that marketers are grasping, unethical opportunists, hell-bent on capital accumulation, whereas production is innately virtuous.

Thoughtful, eloquent and especially compelling, Capitalism is a notable contribution to the long-lasting debate.

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Extra resources for Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets

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But high motives had nothing to do with it. 6 But then the bees discovered the path of virtue and their frugality had disastrous consequences for the economy. As Pride and Luxury decrease, So by degrees they leave the Seas. Not Merchants now, but Companies Remove whole Manufactories All Arts and Crafts neglected lie; Content, the Bane of Industry, Makes’em admire their homely Store, And neither seek nor covet more. This was as shocking a development in economic thinking as that of Machiavelli in political thought in the mid-sixteenth century, when the Florentine diplomat and historian declared that, in the interests of maintaining the state, a prince ‘is often obliged to act against his promises, against charity, against humanity and against religion’.

Vladimir Gusinsky, the Russian media baron who, with a handful of other oligarchs, made billions in murky transactions with Boris Yeltsin’s government after the disintegration of the old Soviet Union, explained his personal philosophy to the journalist Chrystia Freeland – now a Canadian Member of Parliament – in this wonderfully over-the-top and no doubt tongue-in-cheek statement: I always risk everything. A man must regularly, every five or seven years, change his life. If he doesn’t do that, he becomes internally boring.

This tells you all you need to know (and more) about the catching and butchering of whales. And then there is Upton Sinclair, whose description of the Chicago slaughterhouses in the campaigning anti-business novel The Jungle was instrumental in bringing about the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, and whose novel The Moneychangers demonises Wall Street in a way that has taken on a new resonance in the light of the financial debacle of 2007–09. So Americans did have their misgivings about capitalism, though their feelings were mixed, for reasons explained by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge of The Economist in discussing the behaviour of the robber barons: Most Americans were ambivalent about business.

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Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets by John Plender


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