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Why Capitalism?

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  103 ratings  ·  16 reviews
A review of the headlines of the past decade seems to show that disasters are often part of capitalist systems: the high-tech bubble, the Enron fraud, the Madoff Ponzi scheme, the great housing bubble, massive lay-offs, and a widening income gap. Disenchantment with the market economy has reached the point that many even question capitalism itself.
Hardcover, 154 pages
Published February 20th 2012 by Oxford University Press (first published December 8th 2011)
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3.46  · 
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 ·  103 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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"The United States government is on course in 2009, 2010, and 2011 to run the largest peacetime deficits in its history..." Hmmm, okay Mrs. Palin, I mean Mr. Meltzer, you are aware that the three 3 years you listed are not actually peacetime years right? This was by far the kookiest statement in the book, but was certainly not the only one.

Overall I am confused by some of the gaping holes in this short little book on capitalism. The author starts off the book with lots of ambiguous words and ph
Luke West
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very interesting points on why capitalism is the best economic structure. I like how he doesn't take an obvious political side, very non-partisan. He highlights the key themes of why we as people are always changing our minds and the natural ebbs and flows of the debt and welfare. Overall fascinating book.
Puri Kencana Putri
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it
"Capitalism works best in a stable environment that permits people to achieve their plans. To achieve the growth and freedom that only capitalism provides, country must adopt rules that force policymakers to plan for the medium term and prevent inflation."

This is the last part of the book that I'm trying to grasp at the moment. Meltzer, the writer as well as the defender of the idea why we need capitalism is trying to persuade the readers including me about the wise elements of capitalism in our
Sarah Johnston
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I agree with the points made in the book, I just felt it wasn't very coherent and it was slightly repetitive.
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Solid book, addresses capitalism independent of its implementation in various countries. The primary thrust is that capitalism is the only system which has been reliably shown to produce both growth and liberty. The second main tenet is that markets are dynamic where legislation is static, so while legislation may aim itself at a shortcoming or something it considers wrong in capitalism, the market can shift to avoid it. Finally, the third tenet is that legislation should focus on the belief or ...more
Francois Cloutier
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Critiqué de toutes parts, le capitalisme avait besoin d'une défense claire et vigoureuse, ce dont tente de faire Meltzer. Ce petit ouvrage aborde un nombre étonnant de sujets : crise des subprimes, échecs socialistes, le rôle de la Federal reserve, pourquoi un retour à l'étalon-or n'est pas souhaitable (malgré ce qu'en pense Ron Paul), les politiques du Fonds monétaire international, l'aide aux pays pauvres par le World Bank, la corruption, le copinage, les mauvaises décisions politiques, etc.

Charles Berteau
Jul 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Review carried forward from "I'm Reading"

There is much to credit in this defense of democratic capitalism. It reminds readers of many meaningful points regarding the rule of law (not regulators); the inevitable outcomes of poor regulatory design; that humanity is the weak link. It forcefully defends capitalism versus alternatives that inevitably become coersive. Further, it blasts both US political parties, as they deserve, for spending more than we can pay and not honestly accounting for it ("W
Jul 03, 2014 rated it liked it
I think this is a good primer on the advantages of capitalism as an economic system. The author demonstrates how capitalism has lifted more peeps out of poverty than other systems. He acknowledges that peeps who benefit from capitalism need to tax themselves to support necessary government services including programs for those who are unable to participate in the economy at a level that supports themselves and their families. His comments about self-discipline and other "blame the survivor" word ...more
Matt Thackeray
Dec 05, 2016 rated it liked it
A simple critique of the current lurch away from neo-Liberalism. It takes a more neo-classical approach, along Hayekian lines, mixed in with a dose of Kant for Philosophical good measure. It makes soon good points about the growth the world economy has seen over the past 25 years and some prescient points about the rise of populism and economic nationalism. The points about regulation and government intervention are a little laboured and ignore the times when it has worked, and taxation on cigar ...more
Govind Chandrasekhar
The title drew me in. I needed some reassurance that capitalism is the best way forward, especially after having ruminated over several of its flaws while reading Fault Lines. The core idea of this book is that markets are more intelligent than central planners can ever be, that regulators are fallible despite good intentions since they suffer from the same flaw that central planners do, and that capitalism cannot be blamed for the mistakes that human beings make. The book gets a bit technical a ...more
Frank Bowley
Though I agreed,with much of Meltzer argument, I found his style very off putting. I'm professionally an economist, and philosophically supportive of liberal capitalism, but this book makes capitalism seem the product of the most zealous tea party member.
Lani M
Sep 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Let's just say this is an introduction to capitalism equipped by concise fact here and there.

If anything, he kept reminding Kant's quote to us, that humans are imperfect and make mistakes. So, do not blame the system blindly.
Apr 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Although oversimplifying some of its examples, the book manages to define what capitalism is and isn't, it's great advantage over other systems, its limits, and the implications of regulations on it. A good, short read.
3.5 Stars
Not hard to follow but some details are a little tougher to follow.

Good introduction into capitalism, why it works and it's faults.
Jun 11, 2012 added it
Pittsburgh native Allen Meltzer has written a very brief defense of democratic capitalism. He has written to the average layman so it's an easy read so far.
Gaurav Dubey
Jul 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Good book to understand how and why capitalism works. But do not completely find myself agreeing with the author on certain points
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